Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Love Hate And Reparation"

See other formats


U3 — 

OU 1 56446 >m 

“ ^ S 



Editor: John Rickman 

NO. I . A General Selection from the works of 
Sigmund Freud. Edited by John Rickman. 

NO. 2. Love, Hate and Reparation. Two Lectures 
by Melanie Klein and Joan Rit^ere. 

NO. 3. Superstition and Society. By Roger Money- 

NO. 4. Civilisation, War and Death: selections 
from works by Sigmund Freud. Edited by 
John Rickman. 



No 2 

New Impression 




Published by 








Osmania University Library 

I No. Accession No. 



his book should be returned on or before the date last 
ked below. 



failure to grasp the fact that unconscious ways of 
thought and feeling are not only unconscious but are 
grasped only with difficulty. 

?n this exposition the authors have traced many 
things in the adult back to their origins in infancy 
and have shown many features in the adult which 
are evidence of the persistence of early modes of 
thinking. This switching back and forth from child 
to adult, and adult to child, is inherent in the topic 
and may at first seem puzzling. The fact is that the 
unconscious of the adult is actually not so very 
different from the mind of the child ; it must be 
recognized, therefore, that in a certain sense psycho- 
analysts do attribute infantile thinking to grown- 
ups, while at the same time distinguishing between 
the adult and the infantile personality and mode of 
thought. The work on which this book is based 
largely derives from Mrs. Klein’s researches into 
the early development of the emotional and mental 
life of the child. It is proper to say that these re- 
searches and the conclusions drawn from them are 
still undergoing the tests of criticism and further 

The series, of which this book is the second number, 
is not confined to abridgements and reprints of 
psycho-analytical classics ’ ; it includes recent 
work when, as in this book, the views put forward 
show a capacity for constructive expansion and 
development, and illuminate problems that were 
formerly obscure. 

John Rickman. 

1 1 Kent Terrace, 

Regent’s Park, 

London, N.W.i. 

July 1937. 




I. Hate, Greed and Aggression 3 

By Joan Riviere 

4, Projection 11, Distribution 16, 
Rejection 17, Depreciation and Contempt 19, 

Envy 25, Greed 26, Delusional Hate 28, Envy 
of the Other Sex 30, Rivalry 36, Love of Power 
38, Jealousy 41, Conscience, Morality and 
Love 45. 

11 . .Love, Guilt and Reparation 57 

By Melanie Klein 

The Emotional Situation of the Baby 58, 
Unconscious Sense of Guilt 62, Love and 
Conflicts in Relation to the Parents 63, 
Love, Guilt and Reparation 65, Identifica- 
tion and Making Reparation 66, A Happy 
Love Relationship 69, Parenthood 76, 81, 
Difficulties in Family Relationships 82, 
Choice of Love Partner 87, Achieving Inde- 
pendence 90, Relationships in School Life 
94, Relationships in Adolescence 96, The 
Development of Friendships 98, Friendships 
in Adult Life 99, Wider Aspects of Love 102, 

Sense of Guilt, Love and Greativeness 107, 

The Relationship to Ourselves and to Others 

(The two parts of this book are based on public 
lectures delivered under the auspices of the Institute of 
Psycho-Analysis in March 1936, at the Caxton Hall, 
Westminster, under the general title of ‘ The Emotional 
Life of Civilized Men and Women.’) 


By Joan Riviere 


In this book we discuss some aspects of the emotional 
life of ordinary men and women in civilized com- 
munities, the eveiyday manifestations of which are 
fan^iliar to all of us. Two of the ultimate sources 
of these familiar emotional manifestations are the 
two great primary instincts of man : hunger and 
love, or the self-preser\'ative and the sexual in- 
stincts. Essentially our lives are devoted to a double 
aim, to securing the means of our existence and to 
getting pleasure out of it as well. We all know that 
these aims give rise to deep emotions and can be 
the occasion of great happiness or unhappiness. 
Now, to present a picture of the interaction of 
self-preservation, pleasure, love and hate adequately 
would be the same thing as to describe and explain 
every manifestation of human life. Our efforts to 
sketch a rough outline of it in these two lectures 
must necessarily be simplified and schematic to a 
high degree, and full of gaps. We are merely trying 
to give you an idea of some of the main patterns of 
emotional life, as they work out in the behaviour 
of individuals or types. It should be borne in mind 
that, broadly speaking, hate is a destructive dis- 
integrating force, tending towards privation and 
death, and love a harmonizing unifying one, tend- 
ing to life and pleasure. But this needs immediate 
qualification ; for aggression, which is closely 
allied to hate, is by no means entirely desttuc- 
tive or painful, either in its aims or functioning ; 
and love, which springs from the life -forces and 



is SO closely linked with desire, can be aggressive 
and even destructive in its operation. The funda- 
mental aim in life is to live and to live pleasurably. 
In order to achieve this, each of us tries to deal with 
and dispose of the destructive forces in himself, 
venting, diverting and fusing them in such a way 
as to obtain the maximum security he can in life — 
and pleasures to boot — an aim which we achieve 
by infinitely various, subtle and complicated adapta- 
tions. The different outcome in each individual 
is in the main the product of two varying factors : 
the strength of the love and hate tendencies (the 
emotional forces^ m each of us) and the influence of 
environment throughout life on each of us, these 
two factors being in constant interaction from 
birth till death. In this lecture I shall describe 
somt of the ways in which we endeavour to deal with 
and obtain security against the dangerous disinte- 
grating forces of hate and aggression in ourselves 
which, if too strong, may lead to painful privations or 
even to extinction. 


An instinct of aggression, at any rate for defence, 
is generally recognized as innate in man and most 
animals. It seems clear, too, that aggressive im- 
pulses are a radical and basic element in human 
psychology ; we have only to look at the inter- 
national situation, or at the behaviour in any 
nursery, to see that. But quite apart from ‘ outside 
evidence,’ so to speak, I think every ordinary 
person knows from his own experience that bad 
temper, selfishness, meanness, greediness, jealousy 
and enmity are being felt and expressed all round 
him every day by others, even if he does not 

Aggression y 

appreciate their existence so well in himself. He 
certainly knows that a great part of the unhappi- 
ness of everyday life arises from such feelings. 
Most of us have to spend some proportion at 
least of our time and energies in trying to over- 
come and mitigate the bad effects of them when 
shown by others — and also indeed when manifested 
by ourselves. 

We know too that aggressive, cruel and selfish 
impulses are closely bound up with pleasure and 
gratification, that there can be a fascination or 
an excitement accompanying gratification of these 
feelings. For instance, the savage satisfaction, or 
at least the glee, felt by someone making a cutting 
retort can often be seen in his eyes. Bloodcurdling 
and cruel stories, pictures, films, sports, accidents, 
atrocities, etc., are exciting in greater or lesser 
degree to all human beings who have not learnt 
to modify this tendency or to deflect it elsewhere. 
Most of us feel an elation which is pleasurable on 
overcoming an obstacle, or on getting our own way. 
This pleasure that is apt to be closely linked with 
aggressive emotions explains to some extent why 
they are so imperative, and difficult to control. It 
is also evident that aggression in certain forms plays 
a considerable part in the struggle for existence. 
In all fields of work, and in pleasures, too, wc 
recognize clearly that people who have not enough 
aggression, who cannot assert themselves enough 
against obstacles, are deficient in a valuable quality. 
We can in fact say that both the self-preservative 
and ‘ love ’ instincts need a certain admixture of 
aggression if they are to attain satisfaction, that is, 
an aggressive element is an essential part of both 
these instincts in actual functioning. 


Now, though we all know, or ought to know, that 
aggressive feelings do exist in ourselves and in others, 
on the whole we do not much like the idea of them, 
so unconsciously we minimize and underestimate 
their importance. We do not focus our eyes on 
them, but keep them in the outer edges of our field 
of vision and do not let them form part of our whole 
picture of life ; by keeping them a little blurred, 
they do not appear so near and viWd, so real *and 
vital, and thus so alarming as they would be if we 
saw them clearly. This of course is a very primitive 
method of dealing with our fear of them ; it is 
only comforting to ourselves and not really advan- 
tageous. One condition of scientific work, however, 
is that one cannot select some parts of a thing, for 
close examination and leave others on one side ; 
consequently psycho-analysis has learnt that these 
well-known but unpleasant things are much more 
significant and wider in their bearings, more 
dynamic, than they are usually felt to be. 

One explanation for hostile emotions is evident, 
at least in many cases, namely, that the people 
feeling them are discontented and dissatisfied 
with their lot or their conditions. AVhti'.-hcr it 
is some necessary of life or some pleasure they 
cannot obtain, they have a sense of loss. It is 
self-evident that an attack, or attempt to rob or 
hurt and so cause him a loss, will rouse aggression 
in any ordinary person, and in most animals. 
But there is another source of the feeling of loss 
and pain besides that of an attack from without. 
An unfulfdled desire within us can, if intense enough, 
create a similar sense of loss and pain, and so rouse 
aggression in exactly the same way as an attack. 
This human reaction has a great bearing on economic 

Discontent and Dependence ^ 

questions ; it is well known that a lack of the means 
of subsistence in peoples and classes rouses their 
aggression, unless they are in a condition of hope- 
less apathy, despair and inertia. ‘ Another point, 
which economists realize much better perhaps than 
other people do, is the degree of dependence of the 
human organism on its surroundings. In a stable 
political and economic system there is a great deal 
of itpparent liberty and opportunity to fulfil our 
own needs, and we do not as a rule feel our depen- 
dence on the organization in which we live — 
unless, for instance, there is an earthquake or a 
strike! Then we may realize with reluctance and 
often with deep resentment that we are dependent on 
the forces of nature or on other people to a terrify- 
ing extent. Dependence is felt to be dangerous 
because it involves the possibility of privation. An 
unrealizable desire for individual self-sufficiency 
may arise, and an illusion of an independent 
liberty may under certain conditions of life be 
indulged in as a pleasure in itself. 

There is one great exception to this, however — 
one situation in life where we all must feel de- 
pendent, whatever our circumstances — and that 
is in love-relations. There desire clearly binds us 
to others still. ^ Our dependence on others is 

^ In such circumstances some form of aggression is a 
sign of life ; I do not say it is necessarily a practical 
or successful reaction, but as a psychological manifesta- 
tion it is one move nearer to the fulfilment of the need 
than blank despair. 

^ It is interesting, though, that a strong psychological 
tendency is now manifesting itself to restrict and defy 
the force of love in erotic relations, and this is because 
such relations do involve to every individual some 


manifestly a condition of our life in all its aspects : 
self-preservative, sexual or pleasure-seeking. And 
this me^ns that some degree of sharing, some degree 
of waiting, of giving up something for others, is 
necessary in life. But though this brings a gain in 
collective security, it can mean a loss of individual 
security as well. So these dependent relationships 
in themselves tend to rouse resistancq^ and aggressive 

Now psycho-analysis can trace this anxiety of 
dependence back through countless situations to 
the very early one experienced by us all in baby- 
hood — that of the'child at the breast. A baby at the 
breast is actually completely dependent on some- 
one else, but has no fear of this, at least to begin 
with, because he does not recognize his dependence. 
In fact a baby does not recognize anyone’s existence 
but his own (his mother’s breast is to him merely 
a part of himself— just a sensation at first) and he 
expects all his wants to be fulfilled. He (or she) wants 
the breast for love of it, so to speak, for the pleasure 
of sucking the milk, and also to still hunger. But what 
happens if these expectations and wants are not 
fulfilled ? In a certain degree the baby becomes 
aware of his dependence ; he discovers that he 
cannot supply all his own wants — and he cries and 
screams. He becomes aggressive. He automatically 
explodes, as it were, with hate and aggressive 
craving. If he feels emptiness and loneliness, an 
automatic reaction sets in, which may soon become 

measure of compulsion and dependence. One type of 
the present younger generation will not acknowledge 
any feelings of love^ even for a sexual partner or a child, 
trying to base every human tic on reason alone, so 
greatly is dependence feared by them. 


Awareness of Love and Death 

uncontrollable and overwhelming, an aggressive 
rage which brings pain and explosive, burning, 
suffocating, choking bodily sensations ; and these 
in turn cause further feelings of lack, pain and 
apprehension. The baby cannot distinguish be- 
tween ‘ me ’ and ‘ not-me ’ ; his own sensations 
are his world, the world to him ; so when he is cold, 
hungry or lonely there is no milk, no well-being or 
pleasure in the world — the valuable things in life 
have vanished. And when he is tortured with desire 
or anger, with uncontrollable, suffocating scream- 
ing, and painful, burning evacuations, the whole of 
his world is one of suffering ; it is scalded, torn and 
racked too. This situation which we all were in as 
babies has enormous psychological consequences 
for our lives. ^ It is our first experience of something 
like death, a recognition of the wow-existence of 
something, of an overwhelming loss, both in our- 
selves and in others, as it seems. And this experience 
brings an awareness of love (in the form of desire), 
and a recognition of dependence (in the form of need), 
at the same moment as, and inextricably bound up 
with, feelings and uncontrollable sensations of pain 
and threatened destruction within and without. The 
baby’s world is out of control ; a strike and an 
earthquake have happened in his world, and this is 
because he loves and desires, and such love may bring 
pain and devastation. Yet he cannot control or 
eradicate his desire or his hate, or his efforts to 

^ This psychological experience seems to be one of the 
peculiarities in man to which his evolutionary develop- 
ment has led. It is part of the same phenomenon as 
the long physical helplessness and dependence the 
human child goes through, as compared with other 



seize and obtain; and the whole crisis destroys his 

The immediate reaction to this painful state of 
things/ is that he tries to regain, and also then to 
preserve, some measure of the blissful security he 
experienced before he felt the lack and his destruc- 
tive impulses arose. Thus our great need develops 
for security and safety against these terrible risks and 
intolerable experiences of privation^ insecurity and 
aggressions within and without. From such be- 
ginnings we all set out on our life-task of endeavour- 
ing to secure our self-preservation and our pleasures 
with the least }]^ssible risk of rousing destructive 
forces within ourselves, which may involve the 
destruction of others too. 

Needless to say, neither these early emotional 
experiences, nor the adjustments that accompany 
and ensue from them, remain in our memories — 
our consciousness. The ‘ unconscious ’ part ol our 
minds is the territory of these feelings and of such 
experiences ; only a small part of tlie love, fear 
and hate that holds sway there all our lives ever 
becomes known to our conscious minds. Much of 
what I set out here, therefore, is alw^ays unconscious 
in us. Psycho-analysis might be described as the 
study of the motives of human behaviour, which 
have hitherto been so largely inexplicable be- 
cause so largely unconscious, i.e. unknown to 

The hate and aggression, envy, jealousy and greed 
felt and expressed by grown-up people are all 
derivatives, and usually extremely complicated 
derivatives, both of this primary experience and of 
the necessity to master it if we are to survive and 
secure any pleasure at all in life. That is to say, 

Measures for Security 1 1 

however entirely aggressive and hateful these 
emotions in adult life may seem, they are in fact 
to some extent unconscious modifications and 
compromises of even simpler and cruder forms oi 
these feelings. All our measures for achieving 
security are in addition bound up with a utilization 
in some way of love-impulses (the life-forces), 
though this too may at times appear only in very 
perverted and unrecognizable forms. 


The first and the most fundamental of our in- 
surances or safety-measures against feelings of pain, 
of being attacked, or of helplessness — one from 
which so many others spring — is that device we call 
projection. All painful and unpleasant sensations 
or feelings in the mind are by this device auto- 
matically relegated outside oneself ; one assumes 
that they belong elsewhere, not in oneself. We 
disown and repudiate them as emanating from 
ourselves ; in the ungrammatical but psycho- 
logically accurate phrase, we blame them on to 
someone else. In so far as such destructive forces 
are recognized in ourselves we claim that they have 
come there arbitrarily and by some external 
agency, and they should go back where they 
belong. To a baby, as I said, the dilferentiation 
between its pleasant and unpleasant states, good 
and bad feelings inside itself, is reflected on to 
the outside world and influences his differentia- 
tion between good and bad things and people in the 
world outside him. Projection is the baby’s first 
reaction to pain, and it probably remains the most 
spontaneous reaction in all of us to any painful 


feeling throughout our lives. ^ Subsequent mental 
development enables each of us in a varying degree 
to check or control this instantaneous primitive and 
subjective reaction, and to substitute other methods 
better adapted to the objective truth and reality 
of the situation we are in. 

The simplest example of projection in ordinary 
life is the Tu quogue, ^f anyone attributes something 
unpleasant to us. we often instantly assert that in 
fact it is in him.) But it happens even more often 
without any provocation. We can see it as plain as 
a pikestaff, for instance, in the ordinary man’s 
feelings about th^e wickedness and aggression of 
other nations, but not of his own; or in his views 
about the political party in opposition to his own. 
What they do is dangerous, destructive and self- 
seeking in the highest degree, while his own party’s 
intentions and motives are as pure and just as 
fancy can make them. In their conditions of work, 
quite ordinary men are prone to see selfish acquisi- 
tiveness and ruthless aggressiveness either in their 
employers or employees, whichever position they 
do not hold themselves. 

As an instance of the enormous strength and 
universal functioning of this mechanism of pro- 
jection, let me give the example of man’s attitude 
towards death. My argument is that we fear more 
than anything else destructive forces operating 

^ This phenomenon occurs in fact not only with mental 
feelings of an unpleasant kind, but is well known also 
where physical pain is concerned. A man who was 
given insufficient anaesthetic during a tooth -extraction 
opened his eyes halfway through the process and saw 
a violent pain in the ceiling ! The next second it was in his 

Fear of Death Within 13 

inside us against ourselves. Death represents the 
farthest extreme of destructiveness that we can 
conceive of, and one's own death of course repre- 
sents the acme of inherent destructive forces operat- 
ing within oneself Now it is only within the last 
two or three centuries of man’s age-long history 
that the fact of death has been widely acknowledged 
as an inherent necessity, following on a destructive 
proTcess within our bodies. The primitive savage 
regards death as sent by the will of an evil agency 
outside him (demons), and in higher cultures the 
will of a good external agency, God, has always 
been held responsible for it. And even then the fact 
of physical death has been denied by covering it, 
so .to speak, with a belief in our spiritual immor- 

iThe first step in reassurance against dangers to 
the self from within is thus made possible for us by 
projection. Having in our own minds thus succeeded 
in localizing and concentrating the danger outside us, 
we then proceed to the next projective measure, 
which consists in discharging the aggressive impulses 
within us in an attack on this externally located 
danger. Original aggression is expelled as a danger 
and established elsewhere as something bad, and 
then the object invested with dangerousness be- 
comes a target at which aggression arising sub- 
sequently can be discharged. \ As I said before, 
aggression and hate boiling up within are felt in 
the first instance to be uncontrollable ; they seem 
to explode within us, and drown and burn and 
suffocate our bodies in our first experience of them. 
Later in life, too, people can feel like ‘ bursting ’ with 
rage, burning to seize what they want, itching to 
tear out someone’s eyes (or some other part of them) , 


or choking and suffocating with suppressed emo- 
tion. Then their minds seem to be put out of action 
and they cannot think or see or do the simplest 
things^ much less work, or even, perhaps, for the 
time being look after their bodily safety. So we 
feel that, if all this is not to happen to us, such hate 
and rage must find a quick discharge elsewhere. 
A child who is full of hate against^ a loved person 
will hit another child or torture its dolls, or a man 
who is angry with his employer will curse his wife. 
As an old English proverb has it, ‘ The sack is 
beaten, but the ass is meant.’ The savage belabours 
liis idol when h^hs disappointed with the weather. 
We do this also by seeing evil in others who are far 
away, or at least at a safe distance from ourselyes, 
whom we do not feel any need to love as we do 
those near us — such as foreigners, or capitalists, 
or perhaps prostitutes, or a specially hated race 
— some group whom people feel they may abomi- 
nate if they like. These aggressive actions and 
attitudes are (especially to our unconscious minds) 
relatively safe methods of discharging hate and 
revenge, as compared with the simple original 
deepest form of such impulses: namely, the revenge- 
ful drive to rob and destroy someone on whom one 
depends, who may also at the same time be greatly 
loved and desired (in childhood to destroy the 
mother herself or the father and baby that she 
loves and owns as parts of herself) . \ 

We divide people into ‘ good and ‘ bad ’ — 
some we like and love, others wc dislike or hate ; 
we try thus to isolate and localize these feelings and 
keep them from interfering with each other. This 
outlet also enables us to get pleasure by gratifying our 
aggressive feelings, without, we hope, incurring any 

Isolating Dangers 

corresponding damage to ourselves. So we pro- 
vide ourselves with objects which can safely be 
made the targets of our aggression and hate, just 
as we provide ourselves with compartments and 
receptacles in our houses which can safely receive 
the offensive or injurious discharges of our bodies. 
Both these are typical ways, one psychological, 
the other physical, by which we strive to preserve 
to some degree the lives, health and sanity of our- 
selves and also of those we love and on whom we 
depend for our existence and our pleasures. And 
then we may let loose our hostility and hate on to 
these plague-spots we have ourselves brought into 
existence or helped to create. To take some very 
everyday examples ; Think of the very common dis- 
like children have of their cousins, especially when 
their relations with their own brothers and sisters are 
fairly good. The cousins become puppet brothers 
for the reception of what is in fact suppressed 
‘ brotherly hate.’ (It can happen conversely, too, 
that cousins receive the love denied to brothers and 
sisters.) And the children w^hom one’s parents 
would like one to be friends with are as a rule 
cordially detested, mainly of course because one’s 
parents like and approve of them, whereas parents 
are so often felt to do nothing but blame and inter- 
fere with oneself. Such ‘ nice ’ children seem 
absolutely horrible! 

All the feelings which originally attached to 
people can also be shifted and displaced on to things ; 
this is another way of localizing feelings safely. 
As an instance, suppose a woman suddenly thinks 
her clothes are all ‘ hopeless ’ and ‘ deadly,’ worn 
out and ugly ; we see here, first, that her deepest 
fear tliat she has not enough life in her (or not 


enough love, which is the psychological repre- 
sentative of physical life) has caused her to feel 
dependent on her clothes to make up the deficiency. 
She has projected herself, or that part of her which 
she unconsciously feels to be ‘ hopeless ’ and 
‘ deadly,’ into them, and then attacks them as 
enemies to herself and injurious to her. Next, per- 
haps, she induces her husband to provide her 
with new clothes, and so finds some outlet against 
him for her greediness and aggression ; but at the 
same time she is saving him and herself from more 
direct and dangerous expressions of it, from stealing 
from him, or, reproaching and nagging him, from 
serious quarrels and the risk of a total loss of love 
between them. 


In this mechanism we can see the enormous 
importance that the factor of distribution in mat- 
ters of love and hate has in the economics of our 
emotional life, just as it has in the other economic 
systems of human life. Our hate is distributed more 
freely than our love, but is more suppressed at its 
source — within ourselves — so that usually it escapes 
in less volume and intensity. The explanation of 
this is that, in those adults who are comparatively 
normal and psychologically stable, a good propor- 
tion of their aggressive impulses becomes employed 
inwardly, inside themselves, in opposing or checking 
and regulating the flow, intensity and direction of 
all emotions, whether loving and harmonizing or 
vengeful and destructive. 

This basic method of distributing and localizing 
dangerous emotions has many offshoots. In the 
first instance, as I explained, the angry child, 

Turning Away 

suffering from the destructive forces inside it, feck 
that the world outside, that is first of all his mother, 
is in the same state of anger and suffering. So it 
sees the evil things in itself as her, or a quality of 
her, not as a part or quality of itself. Hence good 
and bad states of feeling in the tiny child itself 
contribute largely to forming the foundation of its 
ideas of the world outside and of good and bad in 
that .world. But sometimes they can entirely dis- 
tort its perceptions of what is actually good and bad 
in its surroundings ; good can then be so greatly 
mistaken for bad and bad for good that no true sense 
of reality can be maintained, as in insanity. One 
way in which serious difficulties can arise here is 
that this first necessity to localize bad and painful 
things in the most loved and desired person may 
go too far, and lead on to an undue rejection of her 
and turning away from her. 


Now, some measure of turning away from a desired 
thing in order to find it more easily elsewhere is 
actually another basic mechanism of our psycho- 
logical growth. Without some degree of dis- 
satisfaction with our mother’s milk and her nipples 
or with our bottles, we should none of us ever 
grow up mentally at all. By turning away, and 
also by subdividing our aims and distributing them 
elsewhere, the needs both of hunger and of sexual 
pleasure become detached from tiie mother. Food 
for the body and for pleasure of eating and drinking 
is gradually found elsewhere, while on turning away 
from the breast erotic pleasure also is rediscovered 
elsewhere.^ We all go through this process. Either 

^ Erotic pleasure — gratification of bodily sensual 


as baby girls we come to seek (and ultimately as 
women to find) something like a mother’s nipple 
in the other sex, but something better than it — 
bettef because then, as well as giving and receiving 
pleasure, we can do something creative, something 
which can bring life and happiness to another, 
by means of what was originally sought for immediate 
pleasure alone. Or as baby boys we turn away 
from our mothers in a dissatisfaction which leads us 
as it were, to split her in two and separate her nipple, 
her milk-giving function, from herself. The nipple- 
like organ with its fluid-producing functions the baby 
boy soon finds cm himself and keeps to use, to create 
life and to give pleasure; the rest of his mother, her 
body, her loving face, her encircling arms, he seeks 
again elsewhere. So it is by turning away from our 
mothers that we finally become, by our different 
paths, grown men and women. Normally this is a 
slow and gradual process of detachment from the 
mother, but the acceptance of substitutes for her and 
her breast can, even in babies, develop in an acute, 
sudden and pathological way. A far too immediate 

desires — is sought unconsciously by all of us throughout 
life, and is consciously obtained in some form by most 
of us throughout life. Adult sexual pleasure is the 
adult — more developed — form of similar kinds of 
gratification obtained earlier in life in other ways : 
e.g. the baby at the breast gets sensual pleasure in 
sucking the nipple at the same time as obtaining 
needful sustenance. Psycho-analysis therefore describes 
all such developmental forms of sexual pleasure as 
* sexual ’ ; because they all in fact contribute to the 
building up of the final sexual capacity, and some of 
them (such as sucking or sucking modified into kissing) 
may even continue to play a direct part in adult sexual 

Contempt 19 

and pronounced despairing rejection and withdrawal 
from her may take place, and also a deep and far- 
reaching depreciation of all much-loved and most- 
desired things.^ In this way a loss of faith and belief 
in goodness itself can arise in certain people, which in 
part accounts for a tendency to distrust and avoid 
what they regard as good, as well as to hurt and 
destroy it out of disappointment and revenge. 
Turning away from something ardently desired and 
loved cannot be unmixed with hate and revenge ; 
though there are types of people, such as the kindly 
spinsters and friendly bachelors, who have disposed 
of this element of hate wonderfully well in their 
aversion from intimate contacts. In the miser and 
the recluse, however, we see that a dissatisfaction 
with the source of life has almost poisoned life itself 
for them, as they turned from it ; and their vindic- 
tive disappointment often vents itself m the few 
relations with the rest of the world they cannot 

Depreciation and Contempt 

This depreciation of the loved one, or of goodness, 
and loss of belief in it, is familiar to us all in the 
story of the fox and the ‘ sour grapes.’ In its way 
it can be a useful and widespread mechanism 
for enabling us to bear disappointments without 
becoming savage. In everyday life it may be very 

^ A certain degree of depreciation of any loved person 
or thing that has been renounced is probably inevitable, 
even if it be little more than an awakening to the fact 
that the desired one had been too greatly idealized. 
But in the unconscious this depreciation is often strong 
and persists permanently, though it may be carefully 
masked in conscious attitudes. 



convenient to a woman and her husband if she 
never likes the look of anything in an expensive 
shop. But this reaction has great dangers ; such a 
woman will often be mean, carping and over- 
critical in regard to other matters, especially in 
personal relations. ‘ Sour grapes ’ and the method 
of turning away in contempt from what we really 
admire and desire does not make for greater good- 
will in the world generally. Suppose, instead, that 
a woman looks at a shop full of expensive things which 
she cannot afford, without buying any, but ad- 
miring and wishing for the best and ignoring what 
is unattractive,*^ She will thus have employed 
inwardly, in curbing and restraining her wishes, 
the strength of her disappointment and revengeful 
feelings (her aggression), to enable her to go 
without the desired thing. She has turned her 
aggression (towards what she cannot get) against 
herself and her own desires to get. In Uiis way she 
will have been generous with love, though not 
wasteful with money, outwardly. The former over- 
critical type of woman, on the other hand, does not 
turn her aggression inwards against herself, and 
engage in an inner struggle to curb her desires. 
She is still using a more primitive method of 
ridding herself of them, by directing her hate out- 
ward, spoiling what she wants in her own eyes, and 
so ceasing to like (love) and want it. It is a simpler 
method, less complicated and more immediately 
pleasurable to herself than the inner struggle to 
curb desire, but less advantageous in the long 
run either to herself or to the rest of the community. 
Hate is turned outward instead of love, and is used 
to avert and cover up love, so that in the end less 
love and more hate comes into play in life. 

Motives for Faithlessness 21 

Turning away in contempt or rejection from a 
desired object can be a dangerous psychological 
reaction, if it is not used merely as a restraint on 
greed, and especially if revenge and retaliation 
inspire it as well. The most impressive evidence of 
this may be seen when such a reaction leads to 
suicide — when disappointment and the fury of 
revenge engender such hatred and contempt of life 
and all it offers that life itself is finally rejected and 

The reaction of contempt and rejection is also 
probably the biggest motive and main source of all 
the countless varieties of faithlessness, betrayal, 
desertion, infidelity and treachery so constantly 
manifested in life, particularly by special types of 
people in whom this mechanism is strongly pro- 
nounced — from the Don Juans or the prostitutes 
(in sexual matters) to the rolling stones who never 
keep to one job or one line of work (in self-pre- 
servative matters). Such people spend their lives 
seeking, then finding, then being disappointed 
because their desires are inordinate and unrealiz- 
able either in quality or degree ; ultimately they 
turn away, spurn and reject — only to start the 
search instantly all over again. 

Let me remind you here of the aim — the uncon- 
scious teleological principle, if you like — at work 
behind all these various modes of reaction and 
behaviour, these various adaptations and adjust- 
ments, or maladjustments, that I am describing. 
This aim is that of dealing with and disposing of 
our dangerous and destructive feelings in such a 
way that wfe obtain the maximum security in life 
and pleasure too. In my last illustration — the Don 
Juans in the field of love and the rolling stones in 


the field of work — we can see fairly clearly the mainf 
methods used, because they are so crude and 
exaggerated. We see how the insatiable longings 
of such people, which are n^ vej^ ^diSf&ent^ 
bottom from simple Triofdinat^ greed, 'cause them 
inevitably to become dissMisfied “and discohte^ 
with whatever th£y_^et, fhuT“ afousing^^^^ffi^ fear 

of dependence, revenge ar^d aggri^s^n and threa 
ing their own safety and peace of mind,_besidds that 
of the woman or whoever disappoints them. All 
the evil impulses in themselves— th haTe, greed 
and revengeful ^disappointment — they then expel 
psychologically into the person or work from whom 
they had expected so much, and perceive it all there ; 
and then naturally feel it both necessary and justi- 
fied to turn away and flee from that person or work. 

Now flight is essentially and invariably a safety 
device; and we must consider what it is that 
hy u^ejection. Fundamentally, life is saved, by it. 
s mi^such people feel threatened o n all sides as 
? fieyare ; but more than this, they are trying to 
s ecure their pleasure too. As I described, to each 
of us as tiny babies, goodness, pleasure and satis- 
faction were all one and the same thing, identical — 
all three experienced in one sensation, a good feel- 
ing in body and mind alike, a heavenly^content. 
And they remam^Oiusnilfite^ in the depths, up to 
the last breath we draw, in spite of the complica- 
tions and distinctions that we consciously make 
between them later. In fleeing from a good thing 
which has become more or less bad in our eyes, we 
are — ^in our minds—preserving a vision of goodness 
which had almost been lost ; for by discovering it 
elsewhere we seem, as it were, to bring it to life 
again in another place. 

One Motive in Suicide 23 

We try to make a fantastic ‘ reparation ’ by 
acclaiming the goodness unharmed elsewhere. The 
Don Juans and rolling stones too retain their 
longing for goodness — ^such goodness as they can 
recognize ; and they start every time on their old 
search for a greater security or greater pleasure in 
love or sexual satisfaction than they have ever found 
or ever will find. In their flights one can see an 
int^action of love and hate impulses. Rejection 
can even be a method of loving, distorted indeed, 
but aiming at the preservation of something un- 
consciously felt to be ‘ too good for me.’ Desertion 
then ‘ saves ’ the goodness thus recognized, spares it 
and rescues it from one’s own worthlessness, which 
could ruin it. Sometimes this love in it predominates, 
as in certain suicides, when that supreme instance of 
self-withdrawal represents to the clouded mind a 
gift of one’s life to ensure the happiness of another. 
In such a case the same sharp differentiation and 
separation of good and bad states that I described in 
discussing projection has been carried out, but in the 
converse direction. Such a suicide has localized 
all badness and evil in himself, where he intends 
it to die with him, and has concentrated all his 
own desires, hopes and aspirations for goodness 
outside him, in the loved person for whose sake, 
according to his confused perceptions, he feels 
he is renouncing all that is good, together with 
life itself. 

The need to rediscover goodness elsewhere, as 
well as to separate it from hate and danger, can 
thus lead to continual fresh starts; and, whereas 
in certain types this device becomes over -developed, 
it is employed to some extent by all ordinary 
stable people. The man who lives with his parents 


all his life and never seeks work or a wife away from 
home is perhaps in one way even less normal than 
a sexi^al rake. The impulse to a fresh start, in a mild 
form, is really one great motive behind a very 
important phenomenon in human life, so important 
that it has been regarded by some observers as an 
instinct in itself and called the herd instinct. Man’s 
need for the society of his fellow^ is of course no 
simple manifestation, and every single element and 
every mechanism in his psychology will be found 
to contribute to it ; but it is probably true that 
where this impulse is strongly developed it repre- 
sents more patticularly the need to collect and 
accumulate a specially large measure of love, 
support and so security^ which will be available as a 
perpetual reserve to be drawn upon at need. I 
said before that hate can be used to avert or cover 
up desire or love. Now most especially gregarious 
and ‘ popular ’ people are using love to avert hate 
and its dangers. Such people make a collection of 
friends, so that if one fails Aem they will still never 
be without. Moreover, to have friends and to be 
liked proves to them that they themselves are good, 
i.e. that the dangerousness in them is non-existent 
or safely disposed of. Thus by collecting goodness 
all round them, which they can dip into at any 
moment, they re-create for themselves (by their 
unconscious phantasy-attitude) a kind of substitute 
mother’s breast which is always at their disposal and 
never frustrates or fails them. This cardinal phan- 
tasy of an ever -bountiful never-failing breast is 
naturally the defence par excellence against the possi- 
bility of feelings either of destitution or destructiveness 
arising in oneself. It is of course worked out in 
many other ways besides the one of accumulating 

Accumulating Goods 25 

hosts of friends ; it is what the man meant 
who said ‘ the world was his oyster/ The essence 
of the phantasy is that what we want we can get, 
and then we feel secure against the danger of the 
emptiness and destructiveness which arise if we 
cannot get. But such a need can have its greedy 
aspects and it often implies little self-sufficiency, 
little self-confidence beneath, in one’s capacity to 
secure or to produce a sufficiency of the good things 
of life. Those who seek most from others in fact 
seldom give much to others. 

Popularity, social success, gregariousness and so 
on, besides their many other uses and significances, 
are also wider and more generalized forms of 
similar behaviour in definitely sexual attachments, 
such as the tendency to have many love-affairs 
either at one time or successively. It is a case of 
collecting innumerable eggs in different baskets ; 
the danger of frustration and failure is lessened, 
and the risk of one’s own greed or cruelty wasting 
and ruining the prized good thing or loved person 
is reduced by subdivision of one good into many. 
There is a strong feeling that a loss inflicted on a 
large number will be so small to each member of that 
number as to be negligible ; and an outlet of a 
relatively safe kind is obtained for the discharge and 
satisfaction of aggression, as well as a safeguard 
against its effects. 


This need to secure oneself against loss or danger 
within and without induces some people to accumu- 
late and store up all the good they can lay hold 
of. and this mav well lead round a^ain to envv in 


the perpetual circle of desire, frustration and hate — 
unless it can ascend into a spiral by bringing in 
more love. For as soon as the need for much is 
strong, it is clear that comparisons have begun to 
enter in. Now a comparison between ourselves and 
others is no primary simple situation in itself. It 
is, however, a more developed and complicated 
version of the primary situation I described earlier, 
when the baby feels the difference between pleasant 
good states of well-being in itself and painful 
dangerous feelings and states. All comparisons 
began with that comparison. The immediate urge 
is to reinstate the condition of well-being. Since 
to a baby well-being comes principally by means of 
its mouth and by milk, the process of taking jjn and 
getting acquires great significance to us as a means 
of warding off or ousting pain and the dangers 
of consequent aggressive feelings. This impulse to 
take in something good in order to increase the feeling 
of inner well-being links up with the mental process 
known as introjection — a correlate of projection, 
which is the process of psychically expelling into the 
outside world whatever is felt as bad and harmful in 
us. Whether or not constitutional differences exist in 
the strength of the acquisitive impulse in individuals, 
there can be no doubt that an accentuation of the 
desire to take in, as a defence against disintegration 
within, is an important factor wherever greed is at 
all marked. The connection of greed and acquisi- 
tiveness with security is in any case evident. 


Some measure of greed exists unconsciously in 
everyone. It represents an aspect of the desire to 
live, one which mingled and fused at the outset 



of life with the impulse to turn aggression and 
destructiveness outside ourselves against others, and 
as such it persists unconsciously throughout life. 
By its very nature it is endless and never assuaged ; 
and being a form of the impulse to live, it ceases only 
with death. 

The longing or greed for good things can relate 
to any and every imaginable kind of good — 
material possessions, bodily or mental gifts, advan- 
tages and privileges ; but, beside the actual 
gratification they may bring, in the depths of our 
minds they all ultimately signify one thing. They 
stand as proofs to us, if we get them, that we are 
ourselves good, and full of good, and so are worthy 
of love, or respect and honour, in return. Thus they 
serve as proofs and insurances against our fears of 
the emptiness inside ourselves, or of our evil impulses 
which make us feel bad and full of badness to 
ourselves and others. They also defend us against 
our fear of the retaliation, punishment or retribu- 
tion which may be carried out against us by others, 
whether in material or in moral ways, or in our 
affections and love-relations. One great reason 
why a loss of any kind can be so painful is that 
unconsciously it represents the converse idea, that 
we are being exposed as unworthy of good things, 
and so our deepest fears are realized. When a 
persbn, whose sense of security is largely based on 
his greed — on the feeling that he has, or can get, 
as much as he needs of good things — sees that 
someone else has more than he, it upsets this self- 
protective edifice of security ; he feels reduced to 
poverty, as if he had little — ‘ too little good ’ — in 
him. Not only h^is his unconscious protective 
defence vanished, but he feels in phantasy as if the 


Others who have more must have actually robbed 
him of what had made him feel secure, which now 
is gone. That is why the feeling of envy is so exceed- 
ingly' poignant and bitter to those who experience 
it. They feel they are being forced to submit to 
robbery and persecution! 

Delusional Hate 

It is easy to see that this unconscious belief or 
suspicion — that others who possess more than 
oneself have acquired it through robbing oneself— 
though so illogical, is amazingly soothing. For it 
throws the responsibility for feelings of poverty and 
worthlessness, especially for poverty in love and 
goodwill, on to other people ; and it brings absolu- 
tion of all guilt, greed or selfishness towards them, 
for they are the cause that one is ‘ no good in the 
world.’ Feelings of grudge and grievance too — 
the idea that ‘ nobody helps me ’ — develop as a 
projection from an unconscious knowledge of one’s 
own laziness and meanness towards others. This 
projection, when it gets too strong a hold and is not 
checked by goodwill and insight, is the kernel of 
most forms of delusional insanity, in which other 
people are felt to be robbing, poisoning, or con- 
spiring against one. 

There is a delusional jealousy, too ; envy and 
jealousy are indeed very closely allied. The jealous 
person always feels he is being robbed of his loved 
one. The feeling that one is being robbed only 
becomes delusional, however, when there is such a 
deep and radical doubt and despair about one’s 
own powers and capacities for love and goodness 
that one feels absolutely at the mercy of the evil in 
oneself and lacking in any means to counteract it. 

Pathological Envy 29 

That is a feeling that fortunately most of us rarely 
experience, except perhaps when we have suffered 
real and serious losses, such as the death of people 
we love. This unconscious feeling of our own utter 
worthlessness (in not having done more for the loved 
one) is part of the experience of grief 
We tend to think of envy as a natural or in- 
evitable feeling ; but the fact remains that strong 
feelings of envy are characteristic of some people 
and not of others, whatever their circumstances. 
We all know the really envious type of person, who 
has a perpetual look of discontented agitation and 
suffering, whose sharp eyes seem to be registering 
comparisons ceaselessly, and who can think of 
nothing but what they have not got. Yet actually 
such people are often a great deal better off, in 
material ways, than most of those in their near 
surroundings. When envy reaches such a point as 
this, the wheel has come a bit too far round in the 
circle ; for instead of being able to get and acquire more 
for themselves and enjoy the satisfaction and security 
of good fortune, their sense of danger (derived from 
their own greediness) is so strong that they have to 
protest and declare that they have nothing : that 
is, that they have not been guilty of greediness, of 
seizing and storing up for themselves and robbing 
others of good things to enrich themselves. One 
conimon type is that of a person who, though always 
envious, never makes any effort to acquire or obtain 
anything, and never tries to succeed in any way. 
Here one sees clearly that both the envy and the 
lack of success are proving to him that he is not 
actually taking from others. Though this psycho- 
logical attitude serves well enough the purpose 
of giving security and reassurance against fear, it 


is a pathological development and does not make 
them satisfactory people, even to themselves. For 
one thing, spending so much time and energy as 
they do in feeling deprived and frustrated in life, 
envious people have little or none left for any direct 
enjoyment. Indirect enjoyment they get in feeling 
deprived and injured by others. There is an aggres- 
sive sadistic pleasure in disparaging and dis- 
crediting the others who have mbre, though k may 
be only indirectly expressed ; it also contains a 
very hidden and distorted kind of love, in their not 
taking anything good for themselves and in restricting 
themselves to>5vishing and envying. 

Envy of the Other Sex 

(One of the most important varieties of envy in 
human life, and one we are usually very little 
aware of, is the envy we all unconsciously feel 
to some extent of members of the opposite sex. 
Except in the way in which it becomes conscious 
in women who feel that men have various advan- 
tages they want, and except in men whose erotic 
life is consciously homosexual, this envy is, prac- 
tically speaking, never recognized. Yet some degree 
of it exists in everyone ; and it can be of great 
strength unconsciously without being suspected by 
the person concerned. Where the bisexual atti- 
tudes have not become fully integrated and woven 
together in the fabric of the whole personality — 
where the male and female attitudes merely alter- 
nate or conflict — other people at least will perceive 
something of their original simple significance^ 
they will think that ‘ Miss or Mrs. Smith is a mas- 
culine type of woman,’ or that Mr. Robinson is 
rather ‘ weak ’ or has some feminine trait, such as 

Sex Envy and Rivalry 31 

exhibitionism perhaps. This kind of envy is an 
enormous topic ; the little I can say here cannot 
do justice to it. Obviously a sense of lack and a 
wish for something more than one has is a strong 
component in it. In the depths of the mind, and in 
small children, the wish does actually relate to 
something one literally does not possess, to parts of 
the body and functions that one will never have. 
Girls envy boys and men their penis and what they 
can do with it, directing their urine with it, or 
putting it into women and giving them babies, and 
so on. 

Women’s envy of men relates to all their various 
kinds of ‘ potency ’ in life, e.g. their physical 
strength and intellectual powers. Those women who 
envy’men keenly constantly seek for and enjoy any 
demonstration that they can do what men can, 
which means that they do not lack any organ or 
function men have, brain or skill, wherewith to 
perform special tasks. And I think the man’s 
capacity for initiative and enterprise, which is based 
so much on self-confidence, is especially envied by 
women. Men are more confident than women on 
the whole. The man has an external sexual organ 
he can see and he knows that it functions. Women 
can obtain less direct reassurance of this kind about 
their capacities. Girls have to wait many years for 
it ; not till the man has played his part and till a 
child is born can they gain absolute proof of their 
sexual capacities ; and even then their value in 
their own eyes may be so much bound up with the 
perfection of their children as to be in constant 

Even yet it is often not realized how much boys 
envy girls, and especially envy women (their 


mothers) for their breasts and milk, and above all 
for the mysterious capacity women’s bodies have of 
forming and creating babies out of food and what 
meif give them. Both boys and girls tend to feel 
that their bodies can only form faeces and urine and 
that they can only produce that kind of material. 
Most of the ordinary activities of both sexes are 
normally capable of unconsciously expressing both 
male and female functions in co-operation. Men’s 
desire for female functions comes openly to ex- 
pression in painters and writers, who feel they give 
birth to their works like a woman in labour after 
long pregnancy All artists, in whatever medium, 
in fact work largely through the feminine side of 
their personalities ; this is because works of art 
are essentially formed and created inside the ‘mind 
of the maker, and are hardly at all dependent on 
external circumstances. In contrast, the practical 
man working in a practical world on matters 
external, more independent of his own imaginings, 
is typically expressing a more masculine function. 

These desires to possess the advantages of the other 
sex in addition to one’s own are a very useful element 
in character-formation : indeed, no one can be 
regarded as fully developed unless the bisexual or 
homosexual side of his character is finding an outlet 
in some sublimated and thus productive form. It 
is only when the desires for good things, and for 
more than one has, have become attached in the 
mind exclusively to the attributes or advantages of 
the other sex and no substitutes will be accepted 
that this envy becomes unmanageable or patho- 
logical. It is only when people have despaired, 
at any rate relatively speaking, and abandoned 
hope of getting satisfaction or security from the 

Women* s Envy of Men 33 

functions and opportunities specifically belonging to 
their own sex, that they develop an intense and 
bitter envy of the other. When a little girl has come 
unconsciously to fear the destructive impulses 
inside herself so much that she doubts if she could 
ever produce anything but corrupt and offensive 
stuff (like bad faeces) , and feels that even if she could 
get hold of a baby -seed safely — without guilt and 
without damaging and robbing a brother, or her 
father and mother, by so doing — and feels that her 
own inside may be so full of badness that the baby 
would surely die — when she feels all this she turns in 
dread away from that side of life and develops a mas- 
culine role. She is thus voluntarily, though not con- 
sciously, making a sacrifice of her feminine hopes and 
wishes, and without necessarily losing the large 
admixture of love which is bound up with her 
adoption of a masculine role. She not only refrains 
from the feminine acts by which she feels she 
would harm all those she loved, but remains un- 
married and perhaps devotes herself to looking 
after her parents or brothers and sisters, and making 
reparation to them. She has to get some compensa- 
tion for these sacrifices, however, and she draws this 
from her envy of men. The unconscious psycho- 
logical value of her envy consists again of its sig- 
nificance as a protest, reassurance, and security to 
her. As long as she envies men she won’t have a 
baby or be exposed to those terrible risks at all. 
She is proving that she never wanted feminine 
satisfactions, never wanted her mother’s husband 
and babies, nor imitated her parents in ‘ making 
babies ’ with other children, which she felt was 
seducing and corrupting them and also trying 
to get things that she had no right to. By throwing 


the accent on a masculine way of life, which she 
also desires in itself, she protests that she is not 
greedy for men and babies, and is neither harming 
men nor, through her greed, robbing other women 
of the love of men. Thus she gets a security against 
her worst fears; and she may look for satisfaction to 
the other side of her nature and develop her wish to 
be a man. 

Men’s envy of women is not less common, than 
women’s of men, nor less profound. But it is much 
less recognized and understood ; and I think this 
is due, not simply to the prejudice of men on this 
delicate point; but to the nature of things. As far 
as a little boy’s envy of his mother’s breasts and 
milk is concerned, he has himself a special organ 
to set off against them, a penis. Now his little 
sisters have not got either penis or breasts ; so that 
his satisfaction and superiority about having a 
penis can be used to conceal and counterbalance 
his wish for a body which could make and feed 
babies. All their lives men continue to make use 
of this compensation against their envy of women, 
and one important element in the enormous 
psychological significance of the penis is to be found 
in this compensation. The chief reason why men’s 
envy of women remains so hidden is because it 
relates precisely to the inside of women’s bodies, 
to the mysterious functions and processes that go 
on, magically, as it seems, inside women (their 
mothers), making babies and milk. It appears too 
that, just as women envy men’s initiative, conversely 
men envy women’s capacity for passive experience, 
especially the capacity to bear and to sufter. Sufl'er- 
ing relieves guilt; especially is the pain that brings life 
into the world doubly enviable unconsciously to men. 

Men's Envy of Women 3c 

Men cannot easily become conscious of what 
they envy, because they do not really altogether 
know what it is. Woman has always been said to 
be an enigma by men ; many men have a slightly 
superstitious feeling of awe about a pregnant 
woman. Their speculations and imaginings about 
the experiences of women are of course part of 
their phantasy -life, which they usually keep very 
much apart from their conscious everyday life; 
there they naturally prefer only to show their 
masculine side, since that they both know about 
and can use. It would seem that, prejudice apart, 
we have to employ a special technique for exploring 
the unconscious mind before we can obtain access 
to the sources and understanding of that strong 
envy in men of women, which lies hidden in the life 
of imagination and phantasy. 

In psycho-analytic work one comes across phan- 
tasies and anxiety -situations in men which throw a 
strong light on some primitive rites and customs 
among savages, and clearly establish that their 
origin lies partly in the envy of women felt by men. 
One of these is the ‘ couvade,’ the custom by which 
a man whose wife is in childbirth goes to bed and 
is treated exactly like his wife during the whole 
period of lying-in. In analysis there come to light 
in men wishes and phantasies to undergo a state 
of couvade, or symptoms which in effect cause them 
to do so at such times. These wishes and symptoms 
prove to be largely due to envy of their wives for 
being able to produce a live child and for being so 
much admired and treated as so important on 
account of it. But further, one also sees that where 
the envy is so strong, the sense of guilt and un- 
worthiness in the man is correspondingly strong 


underlying the envy and partly causing it. A 
man’s deep fear of the strength of destructiveness 
and greedy savagery in himself towards his wife and 
children (originally towards his mother and her 
other children) strengthens his envy of his wife’s 
productivity and her more directly demonstrable 
capacity to create and bring life into the world. 


The impulse towards competitiveness, and rivalry 
in general, is drawn from many interacting sources, 
self-preservative, sexual, and aggressive. Some 
degree of it is of coftse a generally normal and useful 
character-trait. When it is severely inhibited we 
find deep hidden in the mind a defeatist attitude. 
The person does not trust himself to struggle with 
others, or win, without doing them irreparable 
harm, and without being punished severely himself 
for risking such harm to them. Over -development 
of competitiveness can lead to great suffering of 
mind and constant unpleasantness in human rela- 
tions, although it can be the source of considerable 
achievement. Rivalry is on the whole productive in 
character when it does not go too far. One very 
often sees, however, that though it may give great 
temporary satisfaction, ‘ success ’ brings no peace 
of mind or security.yHow often great or eminent 
people dare not tolerate any but mediocre people 
round them ; and how common it is for men of 
exceptional ability and parts to choose particularly 
dull, plain, or even useless wives, and vice versa. 
Let me take one special type of rivalry often seen ; 
we hear of the prima donna, for instance, who, 
however good her voice, will not sing in opera 
with any other first-rate singer. In addition to the 

Insistence on Superiority 37 

material, sexual and acquisitive satisfactions her 
voice brings her, the superiority of her voice over 
others’ has become her chosen way of feeling secure, 
and is her insurance against the fear of evil in her- 
self leading to helpless isolation and a sense of 
death. Consequently such people are for ever trying 
to be placed in a sharp contrast with inferior mortals, 
in order unfailingly to be acclaimed good and 
admirable, and in order to feel constantly that others 
are bad and not they. In a milder form this is an 
exceedingly common character-trait ; many people 
are really happy and contented only with those 
in some way inferior to themselves — it may be 
intellectually, or by class standards, or even morally 
inferior. These inferior ones are the people they 
really need and are dependent on in life. Those who 
need inferiors to consort with are of course the 
converse of snobs, but both they and the snobs 
seek the same thing at heart in different ways. 
Both need a reassurance and a guarantee that they 
are not poor, mean and empty, unworthy and un- 
lovable themselves. 

In all these situations where projection is used, 
and other people are regarded as bad instead of 
oneself, it will be clear that the villain of the piece, 
the rival or whoever it may be who is serving us 
as a receptacle for our own dangerous and unwanted 
features, actually becomes to us unconsciously the 
evil part of ourselves, the ‘ double ’ of that side of us. 
This process is often very clear in drama and 
literature, where such personifications form the 
stock-in-trade of the writer. lago, for instance, 
represents Othello’s own greedy impulses, which also 
are subtly indicated in the unconscious symbolic 
significance of Othello’s blackness. 


Once we see evil in someone else it becomes 
possible and may seem necessary to let loose pent-up 
aggression against that person. It is here diat the 
lai^e part played in life by condemnation of others, 
criticism, denunciation, and intolerance generally, 
comes in. What we cannot tolerate in ourselves we 
are not likely to tolerate in others. In so condemning 
others we can obtain gratification, top, both directly 
firom discharging our a^ressive impulses, and ‘from 
the reassurance obtain^ that we ourselves conform 
to and uphold the standards of rightness and 
perfection. Righteous indignation can be one of 
the cruellest an^ most vindictive of aggressive 
pleasures. This very important expression of aggres- 
sive impulses in civilized life is seen in countless 
everyday situations ; it is the object of every dispute 
to prove oneself right, but very commonly the 
principal immediate object is really to prove the 
other fellow wrong. Religious persecution is founded 
on this mechanism, and so are the fulminations of 
the leader-writer and orator ; most of the animus 
in political life, and a good deal of the destructive 
work done in scientific societies, derives from nothing 
else — so do the recriminations of lovers and married 
couples. It is interesting to compare this attitude 
of intolerance with that of the last type of people I 
mentioned, who one may say are too tolerant of 
imperfections or unworthiness in their companions. 
B01I1, however, achieve the same end by different 
routes, a utilization of some form of dependence for 
a gain in the security of peace of mind. 

Love of Power 

One emotional attitude containing a marked 
element of aggression is the love of power, or the 

Omnipotence 39 

‘ will to power.’ It is of immense psychological 
importance, but too complicated to be discussed 
in detail here. Broadly speaking, it derives from 
the attempt to control the dangers in oneself more 
directly than by the methods of projection and of 
flight. It is always the uncontrollable character of 
one’s desire and aggression, and one’s helplessness 
in face of these impulses, that is most dreaded. 
One ‘way of reaching security is by aiming at 
omnipotent power in order to control all potentially 
painful conditions, and have access to all useful, 
desirable things, both within oneself and without. 
In phantasy, omnipotence shall bring security. 
The manifestations of our attempts at omnipotence 
arc l.cgion ; and some degree of it is implied in all 
the other forms of aggression and the defences against 
the dangers of dependence or extinction that I have 
described. Power is not necessarily even indirectly 
aggressive, but it has a strong tendency to become so. 
One form of omnipotence as a means of obtaining 
security consists in experimenting, as it were, with 
danger, in order to test one’s power of escape. The 
ultimate danger such people dread is actually the 
retribution and persecution they unconsciously 
expect from all those loved and hated persons whom 
their greed in thought or deed has injured. People 
in whom the will to power as a method of attaining 
security is over-developed may of course become 
dictators ; but they may also become criminals, 
gangsters, road -hogs and so on. They occupy their 
lives with testing whether or not they can escape 
the retribution of, for instance, accidents, prison, 
and even the gallows. 

Naturally, in the dangers of economic depression, 
with all the disruption and destruction they may 


bring, lies the opportunity of tyrants. When such 
a one has climbed ruthlessly upon the shoulders of 
men more tender or more timid than himself, he may 
attempt to prove that he can be stronger than the 
danger of economic disaster and will hope to show 
himself as the saviour of the situation. Incidentally, 
starting a war in another (perhaps distant) country, 
and thus deflecting or localizing the disruptive forces, 
is quite typical of omnipotent self-defensive measures. 

There may be attempts too at omnipotent control 
by love ; some leaders of religion would favour this. 
But the power qj^ love is a fundamentally different 
thing from the love of power, which is essentially 
egoistic and cannot amalgamate with love to any 
degree ; it can only simulate it. Genuine, love 
denotes a capacity for sacrifice, some endurance of 
pain, some dependence — for the sake of love, a 
greater gain ; the need for power springs directly 
from an incapacity to tolerate either sacrifices for 
others or dependence on others. Because of this 
underlying incapacity any attempt to achieve an 
apparently constructive aim by excessive omnipo- 
tence is always false — based on a fallacy—and suc- 
ceeds, if it is a ‘success,’ only by trickery or violence. 

It is not possible for me to discuss here many 
important aspects of my subject, such as the in- 
sidious and indirect expressions of hate and aggres- 
sion ; treachery, hypocrisy, misrepresentation, lying, 
fraud, and so on ; nor the allied forms such as 
meanness, the refusing and withholding of love or 
generosity in various ways.^ 

^ This omission is by no means intended to represent 
them as of secondary importance ; in fact they are 
insufficiently recognized or understood, and greatly 
underestimated. But in this short study I am obliged 

The Humiliation of Jealousy 41 


Jealousy is not nearly such a simple reaction as 
we assume, even though we regard it as so ‘ natural ’ ; 
indeed it is often felt when it is not in fact justified 
by circumstances. The typical situation of jealousy 
is of course that of rivalry in love. You will expect 
me here to refer to the (Edipus complex and to say 
that all jealousy derives from that first experience of 
sexual rivalry in our childhood. You are right ; but 
that is not enough as an explanation. We do of 
course repeat the experiences of our childhood ever 
after, more or less ; but individuals vary even in this ; 
and we do not repeat our infantile experiences for the 
mere fun of repeating them, so to speak. When we 
do, it* is for the same reason that we behaved in that 
way in the first instance, and because, although we 
have grown older, we have not yet found a better way. 
(^In so far as jealousy is a reaction of hate and 
aggression to a loss or threat of a loss, it is simple 
and primary enough, and as inevitable as any such 
reaction on this pattern. But one special feature in 
jealousy is the sense of humiliation which invariably 
accompanies it, owing to the injury it entails to 
one’s self-confidence and sense of security. The 
loss of self-confidence is not always consciously felt 
by a jealous person. If you reflect, you will see that 
the more furious and aggressive he is the less 
humiliated he feels ; and vice versa, the less aggres- 
sive and angry, the more miserable and low-spirited 
he is. The jealous person inevitably feels humiliated 
and inferior, and, less consciously, unworthy, 

to confine myself to considering open forms of aggression 
— the simpler and more familiar manifestations of my 


depressed and guilty The explanation of this is 
that if he is not loved, or thinks he is not, it un- 
consciously signifies to him that he is not lovable^ 
thaft he is hateful, full of hate. Unconsciously or 
not, he feels it was because he was not good enough 
to her that he has been deserted or neglected by 
the one he loves. The depression and feeling of 
helpless exposure to danger which this thought of 
being unlovable rouses in him (with all the fears 
of loneliness that accompany it) are unendurable. 
This explains the poignancy and torturing bitter- 
ness of jealousy, and this we all endeavour to relieve 
by condemnij;\g and hating someone else, in this 
case the rival. The realization of dependence has 
come back from earliest childhood with all its 
dangers and the wheel begins to revolve again as it 
did in babyhood. Projection is at once set in 
motion. Evil and destructiveness is seen in a rival, 
he is condemned, and hate can be let loose against 
him without a sense of guilt. 

It is probable that our need in babyhood to 
project our dangerous painful states of anger out of 
us into someone else and identify someone else 
with them, and ourselves only with our good 
states, is one of the main stimuli towards recognizing 
other people’s existence at all. In other words, our 
whole interest in the outer world and other people 
is ultimately founded on our need of them ; and we 
need them for two purposes. One is the obvious one 
of getting satisfactions from them, both for our 
self-preservative and pleasure needs. The other 
purpose for which we need them is to hate them, 
so that we may expel and discharge our own bad- 
ness, with its dangers, out of ourselves on to them. 
That, I think, is why jealousy is so often felt where 

Lovers^ Quarrels 43 

it is unfounded. When anyone — unconsciously — 
feels himself deficient in love and goodness, and 
fears that this deficiency may be discovered and 
exposed by his love-partner, or may hurt her, then 
he begins to be jealous and to look for lack of love 
in that partner, so as not to see it in himself, and to 
see wickedness in a rival instead of in himself. 

Incidentally, this accusation — ‘ Ton don’t love 
me ! ’—is the burden of every lovers’ quarrel and of 
the unhappiness young wives and husbands often 
go through before they ‘ settle down,’ as old- 
fashioned people called it. The misery, feelings of 
guilt, the expiation in remorse and tears, and the 
absolution of forgiveness reached in the end all 
display very clearly that an unconscious feeling of 
unlovableness and unworthiness in oneself is what 
sets this familiar process of quarrelling going. 

Now the man who has lost the woman he loves, 
or thinks he will lose her, is reacting not only to the 
loss of her love or his possession of her, but also to 
the loss of them as proofs of his own value to himself, 
and so of his own security, in the world of his own 
mind, to say nothing of the outside world. His 
value to himself may be represented by strength, 
intellect, sexual potency, moral virtues, wealth — 
any of a legion of symbols of goodness, which vary 
with each individual but in each case represent that 
individual’s chosen insurances, as it were, his 
resources in himself to counterbalance and safe- 
guard him against the dangers of evil forces within 
him. A sexual partner — and to most people especi- 
ally in the settled relation of marriage, where there 
is some responsibility and obligation on both sides — 
is felt to be a great recognition, and thus a proof, 
of that preponderance of good over evil in ourselves 


that we all seek, and on which our peace of mind 

It would be interesting to consider marriage in 
civilized life from this point of view alone ; how 
much does this motive of the need for reassurance 
about one’s own value play a part in the decisions 
of men and women to marry, and how little in 
comparison with it does the feeling of love or sexual 
desire impel them ? Without psycho -an*alysing 
them, it would be impossible to estimate these 
different factors in the more normal individuals. 
For true love, as we call it, is precisely a condition 
in which the two factors coalesce and become 
indistinguishable, in which ease of mind and happi- 
ness are perpetually being derived from the fact 
that the man or woman is full oi a love which can 
satisfy and fulfil the needs even of another beside 
himself. A mutual love serves as a double insurance 
to each partner. The other’s love, added to one’s 
own, doubles one’s store of love and well-being and 
so of insurance against pain, destructiveness and 
inner destitution ; and also, in complementing 
and fulfilling each other’s sexual needs, each 
transforms the sexual desire of the other from a 
potential pain and source of destructiveness in him 
or her, to an absolute pleasure and source of well- 
being. By this partnership in love, therefore, 
satisfaction of the harmonizing and unifying life- 
instincts, the self-preservative and sexual, is gained ; 
and security against the destructive impulses and 
Ae dangers of loss, loneliness, and helplessness is 
increased. A benign circle of enjoyment with a 
minimum of privation and aggression has been 
achieved and the advantages of dependence are being 
used to the full. Even so, pleasure in safe and 

Unconscious Morality 45 

constructive forms of aggression must be obtained 
somewhere to a sufficient degree. Where the anxiety 
and distrust of others arising from too much pro- 
jection is at all intense, the dependence in marriage 
will give rise to accessions of fear and hate, which 
destroy all possibility of a benign love-circle, and 
set up a vicious circle of greed, frustration and 
disintegration again. 

Conscience^ Morality and Love 

It will appear that I have said very little about 
guilt, and have hardly mentioned those important 
subjects, hate of oneself and aggression turned 
against the self in painful inner struggles. A large 
part of our aggression is taken up and concentrated 
into that part or function of the self called in modern 
psychology the super-ego^ — the active principles 
and standards within us — which unconsciously 
dictates a great deal of our behaviour, and often 
handles the self proper with great severity. So far 
as we are aware of this part of ourselves and its 
influence on us, we call it conscience ; one reason 
why a large part of this function lies outside con- 
sciousness is because there are strong motives in us 
to suppress and ignore a side of ourselves which 
may cause pain to us and which also attempts to 
interfere with many of our gratifications. 

I have tried to show that we spend our lives in 
the task of attempting to keep a sort of balance 

^ For the development of this psycho -analytical 
concept the reader is referred to the works of Sigm. 
Freud, The Ego and the Id ; Group Psychology ; and 
Collected Papers : ‘ Narcissism,’ ‘ Mourning and Melan- 
cholia,’ etc. (Selections from the above are contained in 
Psycho-Analytical Epitome No. i.) 


between the life-bringing and the destructive 
elements in ourselves. Conscience is really nothing 
but the peak, penetrating into our conscious 
minds, of our unconscious realization of the necessity 
to fulfil this task. In the depths and beneath some 
apparent contradictions, what conscience decrees is 
always guided by the principle of checking impulses 
which lead to destructiveness. One reason why 
sexual impulses are felt so strongly to be guilty is 
because they are apt to be so imperative, i.e. 
aggressive and selfish, that they may cause harm to 
ourselves or others.^ Conscience, as we know it, 
has only oiiq^ discipline — do this, the productive 
thing ; don’t do that, the destructive thing. It 
is but another word for a self-control which should 
keep a proper balance between egoism and altruism, 
and between love and hate. 

One institution, evolved by humanity as an aid, 
broadly speaking, in controlling hate and egoism, 
has existed since immemorial times — I mean re- 
ligion — however inadequately the various forms 
of it may have fulfilled the task. The ‘ desire 
for goodness ’ originally (in our babyhood) stirred 
greed and aggression as well as love and tenderness 
in us. In the early forms of religion this association 
was still apparent ; ‘ goodness,’ the God, was 

killed and eaten as well as worshipped and adored. 

^ A sexual act performed in order to create a child, 
i.e. to bring something into life, is to some people far 
more justifiable than any other. This is because the 
conscious intention of it assuages conscience and allays 
guilt — the guilt that relates to the aggression in sexuality. 
The deepest reason why sexuality is so guilty is that our 
earliest sexual desires were in fact closely bound up 
with impulses of hate and destructiveness. 

Religion 47 

There had been several religious movements aiming 
at a separation of these two tendencies before the 
Christian era ; the one that emerged as Christianity, 
and became one of the great religions of the world, 
was very largely a supreme endeavour to dissociate 
all aggression and greed from love. It attempted 
this by exalting altruistic love to an ideal, but at the 
same time by denying the reality of many problems 
that are part of the soul’s life — of man’s psychology . 
His aggressive and sexual impulses, if their existence 
was not altogether denied, were despised and con- 
demned, or ignored. This denial is not peculiar to 
Christianity, nor have the best interpreters of that 
religion subscribed to it. It was and is a general 
tendency in man to deny and ignore what he fears in 
himsehV Christianity, however, adopted and in 
some ways specially represented the tendency, thus 
encouraging and maintaining it. 

But aggression and sexuality, being integral parts 
of human nature, are bound to function, for either 
good or ill, while life lasts. If the attempt is made 
to deny their rights and exclude them from par- 
ticipation in life for good, they must flow into 
channels of hate and destructiveness. In such forms 
as persecution, rapacity, asceticism and pharasaism 
— the inevitable accompaniments of such a dissocia- 
tion — they forced their way back into the life of 
religion and harassed the lives of men. Moreover, 
because Christianity limited goodness so largely to 
an altruistic attitude in the emotions and within 
the mind, and denied the importance of the external 
material world, the aggression it denied also had to 

^ I referred to this method of denial explicitly on 
p. 20 and implicitly in many passages. 


find its outlet in a personal way, e.g. in proselytism 
and persecution against the beliefs, and ultimately 
against the persons, of men and women. Aggression 
ha^ no opportunity for expression in the imper- 
sonal ways which offer great constructive oudets 
for it: in the intellectual sphere, or against nature 
in practical enterprises such as exploration or 
experimentation. These worldly fields of effort 
were regarded as valueless and thus dissociated 
from goodness. The important beginnings made 
before the Christian era in the direction of impersonal 
knowledge, physics, astronomy, mathematics, physi- 
ology, etc., were brought to an end by this indiffer- 
ence to the fiBysical world (animate or inanimate) 
and its truths, and by this denial to man of the 
constructive exercise of his aggression.^ 

Not only, however, does the dissociation and ex- 
clusion of aggression from fusion and partnership 
with love lead to its discharge in extreme forms of 
destructiveness ; another aspect of the situation 
results specifically from the denial of it. Without 
aggression for means of subsistence, and without 
sexuality for race preservation, human life would 
cease to exist. It is objectively untrue to deny the 
necessity and decry the value of what is so essential 
to life. And it is equally false to deny or decry the 
necessity or value of man’s pleasure in the functioning 

^ The changes to which I refer briefly here, in the social 
consciousness, the ideas, interests and contents of men’s 
minds at different periods, and in their ways of regarding 
the world, are illustrated in a most illuminating fashion 
by the evidence of language in a book to which I am 
indebted for many new and valuable impressions: The 
English Language (particularly Chap. IX), by L. Pearsall 
Smith. Home University Library. 

Denial and Falsity 49 

of his physical body and his sexual and aggressive 
instincts. Without sufficient instinctual satisfaction 
life itself becomes valueless to man; he is reduced to 
apathy and uselessness. A denial of the existence and 
value of these instincts in man is therefore an illusion, 
and is to that extent a false foundation upon which to 
build a way of life. All the efforts made to support 
and confirm it then only augment the self-deception 
in it. . The attempt to apply it to reality, and to deal 
with reality on the basis of a denial, soon calls for 
active dissimulation and falsity to support it against 
the force of truth. For instance, smugness, cant, and 
hypocrisy — some of the forms of indirect and in- 
sidious aggression — then undermine and discredit 
the constructive aspect of the dissociation of aggres- 
sion ‘from love, i.e. the value of altruistic love. This 
gives rise to anxiety and doubt, or to cynicism; 
and so faith in goodness is in danger of being lost 

At this point in history severe disillusionment, 
accompanied by extreme insecurity, depression and 
helplessness, might have manifested itself, had not a 
gradual reaction set in, which is now perhaps reach- 
ing a climax. (It is evidence of the highly constructive 
character of many aspects of the Christian religion 
that it has been able for some time to absorb and to 
survive much of this reaction.) The desire to pre- 
serve goodness and the need for greater honesty 
forced a way through. It took the direction of 
interest in the external world and of a search for 
truth and goodness in material things^ a tendency that 
revived at the Renaissance when some of the pre- 
Christian interests were rediscovered. This re- 
leased aggression from its bonds and freed it again 
for science and for the attack on nature ; it led 


to the appreciation of material reality,^ as against 
the concern with the emotional life, and to greater 
understanding and use of the material world — and 
heiye to greater prosperity. It seems, however, that 
we may now be nearing the point at which external 
goodness— prosperity and material gains— will 
have taken the place of internal goodness as our 
ideal. Prosperity, as we all know, is a great aid, 
though not actually a means, tow^ards inner good- 
ness; it is, however, not a substitute for it. And if 
material gain becomes the ideal, the inner life 
of man is by so much denied and may itself come into 
contempt. The effect of this reaction is that a con- 
siderable dissotlaiion and denial of the part played in life 
by our inner emotional needs has now come about. Our 
need to love, as our strongest security against the 
anxiety of hate and destructiveness within, together 
with the problems of guilt which are inseparable 
from love, and the standards of conscience and 
morality that spring from our guilt, all suffer from 
neglect, are denied, and may starve in their turn 
though material prosperity increases. 

Prosperity as an ideal is concrete and definite; we 
can test and prove our success in attaining it. The 
ideal of inner goodness sets a far harder goal. Our 
love is internal and undemonstrable to ourselves; 
greed and hate are strong in us and faith in our love 
is not easy to attain. It is easy to scoff at and stifle 

^ Science inevitably started life in the easiest field for 
its purposes, that of the facts of the physical external 
world, which are more readily ascertainable and 
calculable than those of the internal world of man’s 
mind (psychical reality). The discovery of the psycho- 
analytic technique, however, has made this further 
task much more feasible. 

Honesty and Realism 51 

love, impossible to count it like a bank balance ; one 
may readily be deceived about it and mistake for it 
what is not really love. Self-deception and un- 
warranted self-satisfaction easily attend the search 
for inner goodness. And if the conscience and 
morality within us are not the representatives of our 
love, they become vehicles of our hate; if they are 
deluded, they dupe us in turn. They may then, for 
example, mislead us into the complacent search for 
badness, partly indeed as a defence against self- 
deception. But since we find evil more readily in 
others than in ourselves, this is no cure for self- 
deception. All these dangers and difficulties tend 
to turn us away from the problems of goodness 
within, for fear of disillusionment, and the helpless- 
ness and insecurity that then threaten us. 

External satisfactions are being grasped, therefore, 
while the even more difficult struggle for inner 
riches and peace of mind has been left to look after 
itself. It is well known that matters of conscience have 
gone out of fashion and that morality nowadays has a 
provincial air. Our inner psychological struggles — 
between our love and our hate — are receiving but 
little aid from conscious attention and efforts. It is true 
that the great necessity within us to encourage and 
nurture love, to give and receive it, and to suppress, 
deflect and modify hate, is seeking new outlets 
externally in our lives; but as an inner problem in 
each one of us it is obtaining little direct support. 
In its search for genuine goodness and in itsfear of being 
deceived, this age of ‘ realism ’ may have overshot a 
mark; there is reality within us as well as without, 
the facts not only of our ruthlessness and greed but 
also of our need to love and to be loving, which we 
suppress and do not honestly avow. Some of the 


needed support for honesty and goodness within — 
which are part of internal emotional reality and the 
source of stable emotional security — should be avail- 
able, in mental science before long,^ The psycho- 
logical situation is that our love impulses are being 
discounted and suppressed, have not enough support 
or outlet, and so cannot pull their weight in the 
interaction of love and hate. Consequently the 
vicious circle of aggression and disruption is increas- 
ing its momentum; the Western civilization which 
owes so much to the power of love may even be 
destroyed. I do not suggest that life itself is in danger 
of extinction the destructive forces in man, but 
that at the moment, love with its power of unification 
being at a discount and so hard pressed by aggression, 
the civilized form of life seems to be in danger of 

An artificial segregation and discussion of the hate 
in emotional life, such as has been attempted here, 
is, you must remember, entirely schematic, and is 
no representation of life as a whole. I hope that 
my presentation of it will not have proved depressing. 
It is of great importance that this side of our lives 
should be better understood. When we become able 
to accept both the inevitability and the potential 
value of these processes in ourselves, the archaic 
elernent in our fear of them and reactions to them 
diminishes and is controlled ; and we devise means 

^ In fact many churchmen and mystics, though not 
the Church itself, seem to have struggled to find this 
goal. The scientific understanding of man’s emotional 
life, which is being acquired through psycho-analysis, 
opens a way for the individual towards the solution of 
these problems and so towards peace of mind. 


to allow these natural forces some outlet and to use 
them as fully as possible in constructive ways. This 
can come about only by understanding, which 
derives so much from tolerance, in other words, 
from imagination, sympathy and love. 

Melanie Klein 


The two parts of this book discuss very different 
aspects of human emotions. The first, ‘ Hate, 
Greed* and Aggression,’ deals with the powerful 
impulses of hate which are a fundamental part of 
human nature. The second, in which I am attempt- 
ing to give a picture of the equally powerful forces 
of love and the drive to reparation, is comple- 
mentary to the first, for the apparent division 
implied in this mode of presentation does not 
actually exist in the human mind. In separating our 
topic in this way we cannot perhaps clearly convey 
the constant interaction of love and hate ; but the 
division of this vast subject was necessary, for only 
when consideration has been given to the part 
that destructive impulses play in the interaction of 
hate and love, is it possible to show the ways in 
which feelings of love and tendencies to reparation 
develop in connection with aggressive impulses and 
in spite of them. 

Joan Riviere’s chapter made it clear that these 
emotions first appear in the early relation of the child 
to his mother’s breasts, and that they are experi- 
enced fundamentally in connection with the desired 
person. It is necessary to go back to the mental 
life of the baby in order to study the interaction of 
all the various forces which go to build up this 
most complex of all human emotions which we call 



The Emotional Situation of the Baby 

The baby’s first object of love and hate — his 
mother — is both desired and hated with all the 
intensity and strength that is characteristic of the 
early urges of the baby. In the very beginning he 
loves his mother at the time that she is satisfying his 
needs for nourishment, alleviating his feelings of 
hunger, and giving him the sensual pleasure which 
he experiences when his mouth is stimulated by 
sucking at her breast. This gratification is an 
essential part of the child’s sexuality, and is indeed 
its initial expression. But when the baby is hungry 
and his desijresL^re not gratified, or when he is feeling 
bodily pain or discomfort, then the whole situation 
suddenly alters. Hatred and aggressive feelings are 
aroused and he becomes dominated by the impulses 
to destroy the very person who is the object of all his 
desires and who in his mind is linked up with every- 
thing he experiences — good and bad alike. In the 
baby hatred and aggressive feelings give rise, more- 
over, as Joan Riviere has shown in detail, to most 
painful states, such as choking, breathlessness and 
other sensations of the kind, which are felt to be 
destructive to his own body, thus aggression, un- 
happiness and fears are again increased. 

The immediate and primary means by which 
relief is afforded to a baby from these painful 
states of hunger, hate, tension and fear is the 
satisfaction of his desires by his mother. The tem- 
porary feeling of security which is gained by receiv- 
ing gratification greatly enhances the gratification 
itself ; and thus a feeling of security becomes an 
important component of the satisfaction whenever 
a person receives love. This applies to the baby 
as well as to the adult, to the more simple forms 

First Impressions are Permanent 59 

of love and to its most elaborate manifestations. 
Because our mother first satisfied all our self- 
preservative needs and sensual desires and gave us 
security, the part she plays in our minds is a lasting 
one, although the various ways in which this 
influence is effected and the forms it takes may not 
be at all obvious in later life. For instance, a 
woman may apparently have estranged herself 
from her mother, yet still unconsciously seek some 
of the features of her early relation to her in her 
relation to her husband or to a man she loves. The 
very important part which the father plays in the 
child’s emotional life also influences all later love 
relations, and all other human associations. But 
the baby’s early relation to him, in so far as he is 
felt as a gratifying, friendly and protective figure, 
is partly modelled on the one to the mother. 

The baby, to whom his mother is primarily only 
an object which satisfies all his desires — a good 
breast,^ as it were — soon begins to respond to these 

^ In order to simplify my description of the very 
complicated and unfamiliar phenomena that I present 
in this lecture, I am throughout, in speaking of the 
feeding situation of the baby, referring to breast-feeding 
only. Much of what I am saying in connection with 
breast-feeding and the inferences I am drawing apply 
to bottle-feeding also, though with certain differences. 
In this connection I will quote a passage from my 
chapter on ‘Weaning’ in On the Bringing Up of Children, 
by Five Psycho-Analysts (Kegan Paul, 1936) : ‘ The 
bottle is a substitute for the mother’s breast, for it 
allows the baby to have the pleasure of sucking and 
thus to establish to a certain degree the breast-mother 
relationship in connection with the bottle given by the 
mother or nurse. Experience shows that often children 
who have not been breast-fed develop quite well. 


gratifications and to her care by developing feelings 
of love towards her as a person. But this first love 
is already disturbed at its roots by destructive 
inlpulses. Love and hate are struggling together in 
the baby’s mind ; and this struggle to a certain 
extent persists throughout life and is liable to 
become a source of danger in human relationships. 

The baby’s impulses and feelings are accompanied 
by a kind of mental activity wlfich I take to be the 
most primitive one : that is phantasy-building, 
or more colloquially, imaginative thinking. For in- 
stance, the baby who feels a craving for his mother’s 
breast when>it is not there may imagine it to be 
there, i.e. he may imagine the satisfaction which he 
derives from it. Such primitive phantasying is the 
earliest form of the capacity which later develops 
into the more elaborate workings of the imagination. 

The early phantasies which go along with the 
baby’s feelings are of various kinds. In the one 
just mentioned he imagines the gratification which 

Still, in psycho-analysis one will always discover in 
such people a deep longing for the breast which has 
never been fulfilled, and though the breast-mother 
relationship has been established to a certain degree, it 
makes all the difference to the psychic development that 
the earliest and fundamental gratification has been 
obtained from a substitute, instead of from the real 
thing which was desired. One may say that although 
children can develop well without being breast-fed, 
the development would have been different and better 
in one way or another had they had a successful breast- 
feeding. On the other hand, I infer from my experience 
that children whose development goes wrong, even 
though they have been breast-fed, would have been 
more ill without it.’ 

Phantasies Dominate 6r 

he lacks. Pleasant phantasies, however, also accom- 
pany actual satisfaction ; and destructive phantasies 
go along with frustration and the feelings of hatred 
which this arouses. When a baby feels frustrated 
at the breast, in his phantasies he attacks this 
breast ; but if he is being gratified by the breast, 
he loves it and has phantasies of a pleasant kind in 
relation to it. In his aggressive phantasies he wishes 
to bite up and to tear up his mother and her breasts, 
and to destroy her also in other ways. 

A most important feature of these destructive 
phantasies, which are tantamount to death-wishes, 
is that the baby feels that what he desires in his 
phantasies has really taken place ; that is to say 
he feels that he has really destroyed the object of his 
destructive impulses, and is going on destroying 
it : this has extremely important consequences for 
the development of his mind. The baby finds 
support against these fears in omnipotent phan- 
tesies of a restoring kind : that too has extremely 
important consequences for his development. If 
the baby has, in his aggressive phantasies, injured his 
mother by biting and tearing her up, he may soon 
build up phantasie' that he is putting the bits 
together again and repairing her.i This, however, 
does not quite do away with his fears of having 
destroyed the object which, as we know, is the one 
whom he loves and needs most, and on whom he is 

‘ The psycho-analysis of small children, which 
enabled me to draw conclusions also as to the workings 
of the mind at an earlier stage, has convinced me that 
such phantasies are already active in babies. Psycho- 
analysis of adults has shown me that the effects of this 
early phantasy-life are lasting, and profoundly influence 
the unconscious mind of the grown-up person. 



entirely dependent. In my view, these basic con- 
flicts profoundly influence the course and the force of 
the emotional lives of grown-up individuals. 


Unconscious Sense of Guilt 

We all know that if we detect in ourselves impulses 
of hate towards a person we love, we feel concerned 
or guilty. As Coleridge puts itj 

... to be wroth with one we love, 

Doth work like madness in the brain. 

We tend very much to keep these feelings of guilt in 
the backgrpuj;^, because of their painfulness. They 
express themselves, however, in many disguised 
ways, and are a source of disturbance in our per- 
sonal relations. For instance, some people readily 
experience distress through lack of appreciation, 
even from persons who mean but little to them ; 
the reason is that in their unconscious minds they 
feel unworthy of man’s regard, and a cold reception 
confirms their suspicion of this unworthiness. Others 
are dissatisfied with themselves (not on objective 
grounds) in the most various ways, for example, 
in connection with their appearance, their work, 
or their abilities in general. Some of these manifesta- 
tions are quite commonly recognized and have been 
popularly termed an ‘ inferiority complex.’ 

Psycho -analytic findings show that feelings of this 
kind are more deeply rooted than is usually supposed 
and are always connected with unconscious feelings 
of guilt. The reason why some people have so 
strong a need for general praise and approval lies 
in their need for evidence that they arc lovable, 
worthy of love. This feeling arises from the un- 
conscious fear of being incapable of loving others 

Confiict is Inevitable 63 

sufficiently or truly, and particularly of not being 
able to master aggressive impulses towards others : 
they dread being a danger to the loved one. 

Love and Conflicts in Relation to the Parents 

The struggle between love and hate, with all the 
confficts to which it gives rise, sets in, as I have 
tried to show, in early infancy, and is active all 
through life. It begins with the child’s relation- 
ship to both parents. In the relation of the suckling 
to his mother, sensual feelings are already present and 
express themselves in the pleasurable mouth sensations 
connected with the sucking process. Soon genital 
feelings come to the fore and the craving for the 
mother’s nipples diminishes. It does not ^together 
vanish, however, but remains active in the uncon- 
scious and partly also in the conscious mind. Now 
in the case of the little girl the concern with the 
nipple passes over to an interest, which is for the 
most part unconscious, in the father’s genital, and 
this becomes the object of her libidinal wishes and 
phantasies. As development proceeds, the little 
girl desires her father more than her mother, and has 
conscious and unconscious phantasies of taking her 
mother’s place, winning her father for herself and 
becoming his wife. She is also very jealous of the 
children her mother possesses, and wishes her father 
to give her babies of her own. These feelings, 
wishes and phantasies go along with rivalry, 
aggression and hatred against her mother, and are 
added to the grievances which she felt against her 
because of the earliest frustrations at the breast. 
Nevertheless, sexual phantasies and desirw towank 
her mother do remain active in the little girl’s 


mind. Under the influence of these she wants to 
take her father’s place in connection with her 
mother, and in certain cases these desires and 
phkntasies may develop more strongly even than 
those towards the father. Thus besides the love to 
both of them there are also feelings of rivalry to 
both, and this mixture of feelings is carried further 
in her relation to brothers and sisters. The desires 
and phantasies in connection * with mother and 
sisters are the basis for direct homosexual relation- 
ships in later life, as well as for homosexual feelings 
which express themselves indirectly in friendship 
and affection? between women. In the ordinary 
course of events these homosexual desires recede 
into the background, become deflected and subli- 
mated, and the attraction towards the other sex 

A corresponding development takes place in the 
small boy, who soon experiences genital desires 
towards his mother and feelings of hatred against 
his father as a rival. But in him, too, genital desires 
towards his father develop, and this is the root of 
homosexuality in men. These situations give rise 
to many conflicts — for the little girl, although she 
hates her mother, also loves her ; and the little boy 
loves his father and would spare him the danger 
arising from his — the boy’s — aggressive impulses. 
Moreover, the main object of all sexual desires— 
in the girl, the father, in the boy, the mother — also 
rouses hate and revenge, because these desires are 

The child is also intensely jealous of brothers and 
sisters, in so far as they are rivals for the parents’ 
love. He also loves them, however, and thus again 
in this connection strong conflicts between aggressive 

Guilt and Love 


impulses and feelings of love are aroused. This 
leads to feelings of guilt and again to wishes to 
make good : a mixture of feelings which has an 
important bearing not only on our relations with 
brothers and sisters but, since relations to people in 
general are modelled on the same pattern, also on 
our social attitude and on feelings of love and guilt 
and the wish to make good in later life. 

Love, Guilt and Reparation 

I said before that feelings of love and gratitude 
arise directly and spontaneously in the baby in 
response to the love and care of his mother. The 
power of love — which is the manifestation of the 
forces which tend to preserve life — is there in the 
baby as well as the destructive impulses, and finds 
its first fundamental expression in the baby’s 
attachment to his mother’s breast, which develops 
into love for her as a person. My psycho -analytic 
work has convinced me that when in the baby’s 
mind the conflicts between love and hate arise, and 
the fears of losing the loved one become active, a 
very important step is made in development. 
These feelings of guilt and distress now enter as a 
new element into the emotion of love. They become 
an inherent part of love, and influence it profoundly 
both in quality and quantity. 

Even in the small child one can observe a con- 
cern for the loved one which is not, as one might 
think, merely a sign of dependence upon a friendly 
and helpful person. Side by side with the destruc- 
tive impulses in the unconscious mind both of the 
child and of the adult, there exists a profound urge 
to make sacrifices, in order to help and to put right 
loved people who in phantasy have been harmed or 


destroyed. In the depths of the mind, the urge to 
make people happy is linked up with a strong feel- 
ing of responsibility and concern for them, which 
manifests itself in genuine sympathy with other 
people and in the ability to understand them, as 
they are and as they feel. 

Identification and Making Reparation 

To be genuinely considerate implies that we can 
put ourselves in the place of other people : we 
‘ identify ’ ourselves with them. Now. this capacity 
for identification with another person is a most 
important elefiient in human relationships in 
general, and is also a condition for real and strong 
feelings of love. We are only able to disregard or 
to some extent sacrifice our own feelings and desires, 
and thus for a time to put the other person’s 
interests and emotions first, if we have the capacity 
to identify ourselves with the loved person. Since 
in being identified with other people we share, as it 
were, the help or satisfaction afforded to them by 
ourselves, we regain in one way what we have 
sacrificed in another.^ Ultimately, in making 

' As I said at the beginning there is a constant inter- 
action of love and hate in all of us. My topic, however, 
is concerned with the ways in which feelings of love 
develop '’nd become strengthened and stabilized. Since 
I am not entering much into questions of aggression 
I must make clear that it is also active, even in people 
wlic^c capacity for love is strongly developed. Generally 
speaking, in such people both aggression and hatred 
(the latter diminished and to some degree counter- 
balanced by the capacity for love) is used very greatly 
in constructive ways (‘ sublimated,’ as it has been 
termed). There is actually no productive activity 

Reversing Early Situations 67 

sacrifices for somebody we love and in identifying 
ourselves with the loved person, we play the part 
of a good parent, and behave towards this person 
as we felt at times the parents did to us — or as we 
wanted them to do. At the same time, we also play 
the part of the good child towards his parents, 
which we wished to do in the past and are now 
acting out in the present. Thus, by reversing a 
situation, namely in acting towards another person 
as a good parent, in phantasy we re-create and enjoy 
the wished-for love and goodness of our parents. 
But to act as good parents towards other people 
may also be a way of dealing with the frustrations and 
sufferings of the past. Our grievances against our 
parents for having frustrated us, together with the 
feelings of hate and revenge to which these have 
given rise in us, and again, the feelings of guilt and 
despair arising out of this hate and revenge because 

into which some aggression does not enter in one 
way or another. Take, for instance, the housewife’s 
occupation : cleaning and so on certainly bear witness 
to her desire to make things pleasant for others and for 
herself, and as such is a manifestation of love for other 
people and for the things she cares for. But at the same 
time she also gives expression to her aggression in 
destroying the enemy, dirt, which in her unconscious 
mind has come to stand for ‘ bad ’ things. The original 
hatred and aggression derived from the earliest sources 
may break through in women whose cleanliness be- 
comes obsessional. We all know the type of women who 
make life miserable for the family by continuously 
‘ tidying up ’ ; there the hatred is actually turned 
against the people she loves and cares for. To hate 
people and things which are felt to be worthy of hate — 
be they people we dislike or principles (political, artistic, 
religious or moral) with which we disagree, is a general 


we have injured the parents whom at the same time 
we loved — all these, in phantasy, we may undo in 
retrospect (taking away some of the grounds for 
hatred), by playing at the same time the parts of 
loving parents and loving children. At the same time, 
in our unconscious phantasy we make good the 
injuries which we did in phantasy, and for which 
we still unconsciously feel very guilty. This making 
reparation is, in my view, a fundamental element in 
love and in all human relationships; I shall there- 
fore refer to it frequently in what follows. 

way of giving >vent, in a manner which is felt to be 
permissible and can actually be quite constructive, 
to our feelings of hatred, aggression, scorn and con- 
tempt, if it does not go to extremes. These emotions, 
though made use of in adult ways, are at bottom the 
ones we experienced in childhood when we hated the 
people whom at the same time we also loved — our 
parents. Even then we attempted to keep our love 
towards our parents, and to turn the hatred on to other 
people and things, a process which is more successful 
when we have developed and stabilized our capacity for 
love and also extended our range of interests, affections 
and hatreds in adult life. To give a few more examples: 
the work of la^\yers, politicians and critics involves com- 
bating opponents, but in ways which are felt to be allow- 
able and useful ; and here again the foregoing conclusions 
would apply. One of the many ways in which aggression 
can be expressed legitimately and even laudably is in 
games, in which the opponent is temporarily — and this 
fact of its being temporary also helps to diminish the 
sense of guilt — attacked with feelings that again derive 
from early emotional situations. There are thus many 
ways — sublimated and direct — in which aggression and 
hatreds find expression in people who are at the same 
time very kind-hearted and capable of love. 


Infantile Wishes and Adult Love 
A Happy Love Relationship 

Bearing in mind what I have said about the 
origins of love, let us now consider some particular 
relationships of adults, taking first, as an example, 
a satisfactory and stable love relationship between 
a man and a woman, as it may be found in a happy 
marriage. This implies a deep attachment, a 
capacity for mutual sacrifice, a sharing — in grief as 
well as in pleasure, in interests as well as in sexual 
enjoyment. A relationship of this nature affords the 
widest scope for the most varied manifestations of 
love.^ If the woman has a maternal attitude 
towards the man, she satisfies (as far as can be) his 
earliest wishes for the gratifications he desired from 
his own mother. In the past, these wishes have never 
been quite satisfied, and have never been quite 
given up. The man has now, as it were, this mother 
for his own, with relatively little feeling of guilt. 
(I shall go into the reason for this in more detail 
later.) If the woman has a richly developed emo- 
tional life, besides possessing these maternal feelings, 
she will also have kept something of the child’s 
attitude towards her father, and some of the features 
of this old relationship will enter into her relation to 
her husband ; for instance, she will trust and admire 

^ In considering adult emotions and relationships I 
shall throughout this paper deal mainly with the bearing 
the child’s early impulses and unconscious feelings and 
phantasies have upon the later manifestations of love. 
I am aware that this necessarily leads to a somewhat 
one-sided and schematic presentation, for in this way 
I cannot do justice to the multiple factors that in the 
life-long interaction between influences coming from the 
outer world and the individual’s inner forces work 
together to build up an adult relationship. 


her husband, and he will be a protective and helpful 
figure to her as her father was. These feelings will 
be a foundation for a relation in which the woman’s 
desiVes and needs as a grown-up person can find 
full satisfaction. Again, this attitude of his wife’s 
gives the man the opportunity to be protective and 
helpful to her in various ways — that is, in his un- 
conscious mind, to play the part of a good husband to 
his mother. 

If the woman is capable of strong feelings of love 
both towards her husband and towards her children, 
one can infer that she has most probably had a good 
relationship in'^childhood to both parents, and to her 
brothers and sisters ; that is to say, that she has been 
able to deal satisfactorily with her early feelings of 
hate and revenge against them. 1 have mentioned 
before the importance of the little girl’s unconscious 
wish to receive a baby from her father, and of the 
sexual desires towards him which are connected 
with this wish. The father’s frustration of her genital 
desires gives rise to intense aggressive phantasies in 
the child, which have an important bearing upon 
the capacity for sexual gratification in adult life. 
Sexual phantasies in the little girl thus become 
connected with hatred which is specifically directed 
against her father’s penis, because she feels that it 
denies her the gratification which it affords to her 
mother. In her jealousy and hatred she wishes it 
to be a dangerous and evil thing — one which could 
not gratify her mother either — and the penis thus, 
in her phantasy, acquires destructive qualities. 
Because of these unconscious wishes, which focus 
on her parents’ sexual gratifications, in some of her 
phantasies sexual organs and sexual gratification 
take on a bad and dangerous character. These 

Unconscious Phantasies 


aggressive phantasies are again followed in the 
child’s mind by wishes to make good — more 
specifically, by phantasies of healing the father’s 
genital which, in her mind, she has injured or 
made bad. The phantasies of a cifirative nature are 
also connected with sexual feelings and desires. All 
these unconscious phantasies influence greatly the 
woman’s feelings towards her husband. If he loves 
her and also gratifies her sexually, her unconscious 
sadistic phantasies will lose in strength. But since 
these are not entirely put out of action (though 
in a woman who is fairly normal, they are not present 
in a degree that inhibits the tendency to blend 
with more positive or friendly erotic impulses), they 
lead to a stimulation of phantasies of a restoring 
nature ; thus once more the drive to make reparation 
is brought into action. Sexual gratification affords 
her not only pleasure, but reassurance and support 
against the fears and feelings of guilt which were the 
result of her eaily sadistic wishes. This reassurance 
enhances sexual gratification and gives rise in the 
woman to feelings of gratitude, tenderness and 
increased love. Just because there is somewhere in 
the depths of her mind a feeling that her genital is 
dangerous and could injure her husband’s genital — 
which is a derivative of her aggressive phantasies 
towards her father — one part of the satisfaction she 
obtains comes from the fact that she is capable of 
giving her husband pleasure and happiness, and 
that her genital thus proves to be good. 

Because the little girl had phantasies of her father’s 
genital being dangerous, these still have a certain 
influence upon the woman’s unconscious mind. But 
if she has a happy and sexually gratifying relation 
with her husband, his genital is felt to be good, aind 


thus her fears of the bad genital are disproved. 
The sexual gratification thus works as a double 
reassurance : of her own goodness and of her 
husband’s, and the feeling of security gained in this 
way adds to the actual sexual enjoyment. The circle 
of reassurance thus provided is still wider. The 
woman’s early jealousy and hatred of her mother as 
a rival for her father’s love has played an important 
part in her aggressive phantasies. The mutual 
happiness provided both by sexual gratification and 
by a happy and loving relation to her husband will 
also be felt partly as an indication that her sadistic 
wishes again^ her mother have not taken effect, 
or that reparation has succeeded. 

The emotional attitude and the sexuality of a 
man in his relation to his wife are of course also 
influenced by his past. The frustration by his 
mother of his genital desires in his childhood aroused 
phantasies in which his penis became an instrument 
which could give pain and cause injury to her. At 
the same time jealousy and hatred of his father as a 
rival for his mother’s love set going phantasies of 
a sadistic nature against his father also. In the 
sexual relation to his love-partner the man’s early 
aggressive phantasies, which led to a fear of his 
penis being destructive, come into play to some 
extent, and by a transmutation similar in kind to 
that described for the woman, the sadistic impulse, 
when it is in manageable quantity, stimulates phan- 
tasies of reparation. The penis is then felt to be 
a good and curative organ, which shall afford the 
woman pleasure, cure her injured genital and create 
babies in her. A happy and sexually gratifying 
relationship with the woman affords him proofs of 
the goodness of his penis, and also unconsciously 

Equality with Parents 73 

gives him the feeling that his wishes to restore her 
have succeeded. This not only increases his sexual 
pleasure and his love and tenderness for the woman, 
but here again it leads to feelings of gratitude and 
security. In addition, these feelings are apt to 
increase his creative powers in other ways and to 
influence his capacity for work and for other 
activities. If his wife can share in his interests (as 
well as in love and in sexual satisfaction), she 
affords him proofs of the value of his work. In these 
various ways his early wish to be capable of doing 
what his father did for his mother, sexually and 
otherwise, and to receive from her what his father 
received, can be fulfilled in his relation to his wife. 
His happy relation to her has also the effect of 
diminishing his aggression against his father, which 
was greatly stimulated by his being unable to have 
his mother as a wife, and this may reassure him 
that his long-standing sadistic tendencies against 
his father have not been effective. Since grievances 
and hatred against his father have influenced his 
feelings towards men who have come to stand for 
his father, and grievances against his mother have 
affected his relation to women who stand for her, a 
satisfactory love relationship alters his outlook on 
life and his attitude to people and activities in 
general. To possess his wife’s love and appreciation 
gives him a feeling of being fully grown-up and thus 
of being equal to his father. The hostile and aggres- 
sive rivalry with him diminishes and gives way to a 
more friendly competition with his father — or 
rather with admired father-figures — in productive 
functions and achievements, and this is very likely 
to enhance or increase his productivity. 

Similarly, when a woman in a happy love 


relationship with a man unconsciously feels that she 
can take, as it were, the place that her mother took 
with husband, and now gains satisfactions that her 
mdther enjoyed and that she, as a child, was denied — 
then she is able to feel equal to her mother, to enjoy 
the same happiness, rights and privileges as her 
mother did, but without injuring and robbing her. 
The effects upon her attitude and the development 
of her persondity are analogous tb the changes which 
take place in the man when he finds himself, in a 
happy married life, equal to his father. 

Tlius in both partners a relationship of mutual 
sexual gratifiention and love will be felt as a happy 
re-creation of their early family lives. Many wishes 
and phantasies can never be satisfied in childhood,^ 

^ In the case of the boy, for example, the child wishes 
to have his mother to himself the whole twenty-four 
hours of the day, to have sexual intercourse with her, to 
g^ve her babies, to kill his father because he is jealous of 
him, to deprive his brothers and sisters of everything they 
have, and turn them out too if they get in his way. It is 
obvious that if these impracticable wishes were fulfilled 
they would cause him the deepest feelings of guilt. Even 
the realization of much less far-reaching destructive 
desires is apt to arouse deep conflicts. For instance many 
a child will feel guilty if he becomes his mother’s 
favourite, because his father and brothers and sisters will 
be correspondingly neglected. This is what I mean by 
saying there are simultaneously contradictory wishes in 
the unconscious mind. The child’s desires are unlimited 
and so are his destructive impulses in connection with 
these desires, but at the same time he also has — ^uncon- 
sciously and consciously — opposite tendencies; he also 
wishes to give them love and make reparation. He him- 
self actually wants to be restrained by the adults around 
him in his aggression and selfishness, because if these are 

Realisation of Infantile Phantasies 75 

not only because they are impracticable, but also 
because there are simultaneously contradictory 
wishes in the unconscious mind. It seems a para- 
doxical fact that, in a way, fulfilment of many 
infantile wishes is possible only when the individual 
has grown up. In the happy relationship of grown- 
up people the early wish to have one’s mother or 
father all to oneself is still unconsciously active. Of 
course; reality does not allow one to be one’s mother’s 
husband or one’s father’s wife ; and had it been 
possible, feelings of guilt towards others would have 
interfered with the gratification. But only if one 
has been able to develop such relationships with the 
parents in unconscious phantasy, and has been able 

given free rein he is caused suffering by the pain of 
remorse and unworthiness; and in fact he relies on 
obtaining this help from grown-ups, like any other help 
he needs. Consequently it is psychologically quite 
inadequate to attempt to solve children’s difficulties by 
not frustrating them at all. Naturally, frustration which 
is in reality unnecessary or arbitrary and shows nothing 
but lack of love and understanding is very detrimental. 
It is important to realize that the child’s development 
depends on, and to a large extent is formed by, his 
capacity to find the way to bear inevitable and necessary 
frustrations and the conflicts of love and hate which 
are in part caused by them : that is, to find his way 
between his hate which is increased by frustrations, and 
his love and wish for reparation which bring in their 
train the sufferings of remorse. The way the child 
adapts himself to these problems in his mind forms the 
foundation for all his later social relationships, his adult 
capacity for love and cultural development. He can be 
immensely helped in childhood by the love and under- 
standing of those around him, but these deep problems 
can neither be solved for him nor abolished. 


to overcome to some extent one’s feelings of guilt 
connected with these phantasies, and gradually to 
detach oneself from as well as remaining attached 
to the parents, is one capable of transferring these 
wishes to other people, who then stand for desired 
objects of the past, though they are not identical 
with them. That is to say, only if the individual has 
grown up in the real sense of the word can his 
infantile phantasies be fulfilled in the adult state. 
What is more, guilt due to these infantile wishes then 
becomes relieved, just because a situation phantasied 
in childhood has now become real in a* permissible 
way, and in way which proves that the injuries of 
various kinds, which in phantasy were connected 
with this situation, have not actually been inflicted. 

A happy adult relationship, such as I have de- 
scribed, can thus, as I said before, mean a re- 
creation of the early family situation, and this will 
be the more complete, and therefore the whole 
circle of reassurance and security will be wider 
still, through the relation of the man and woman 
to their children. This brings us to the subject of 

Parenthood : On Being a Mother 

We will consider first a really loving relationship of 
a mother to her baby, as it develops if the woman has 
attained a fully maternal personality. There are 
many threads which link the relationship of the 
mother to her child with that of her own relation 
to her mother in babyhood. A very strong conscious 
and unconscious wish for babies exists in small 
children. In the little girl’s unconscious phantasies, 
her mother’s body is full of babies. These she 
imagines have been put into her by her father’s 

On Being a Mother 77 

penis, which is to her the symbol of all creative- 
ness, power and goodness. This predominant 
attitude of admiration towards her father and his 
sexual organs as creative and life-giving goes along 
with the little girl’s intense desire to possess chil- 
dren of her own and to have babies inside her, as 
the most precious possession. 

It is an everyday observation that little girls 
play with dolls as if these were their babies. But 
a child will often display a passionate devotion to 
the doll, for it has become to her a live and real 
baby, a companion, a friend, which forms part of 
her life. She not only carries it about with her, 
but constantly has it in her mind, starts the day with 
it and gives it up unwillingly if she is made to do 
something else. These wishes experienced in child- 
hood persist into womanhood and contribute greatly 
to the strength of the love that a pregnant woman 
feels for the child growing inside her, and then for 
the baby to which she has given birth. The gratifi- 
cation of at last having it relieves the pain of the 
frustration experienced in childhood when she 
wanted a baby from her father and could not 
have it. This long-postponed fulfilment of an all- 
important wish tends to make her less aggressive 
and to increase her capacity for loving her child. 
Furthermore, the child’s helplessness and its great 
need for its mother’s care call for more love than 
can be given to any other person, and thus all the 
mother’s loving and constructive tendencies now 
have scope. Some mothers, as we know, exploit 
this relationship for the gratification of their own 
desires, i.e. their possessiveness and the satisfaction 
of having somebody dependent upon them. Such 
women want their children to cling to them, and 


they hate them to grow up and to acquire individu- 
alities of their own. With others, the child’s help- 
lessness calls out all the strong wishes to make 
re{5aration, which are derived from various ources 
and which can now be related to this most wished - 
for baby, who is the fulfilment of her early longings. 
Gratitude towards the child who affords his mother 
the enjoyment of being able to love him enhances 
these feelings, and may lead to afl attitude where the 
mother’s first concern will be for the baby’s good, 
and her own gratification will become bound up 
with his welfare. 

The nature-jof the relations of the mother to her 
children alters, of course, as they grow up. Her 
attitude to her older children will be more or less 
influenced by her attitude to her brothers and 
sisters, cousins, etc., in the past. Certain difficulties 
in these past relationships may easily interfere with 
her feelings to her own child, especially if it develops 
reactions and traits which tend to stir these diffi- 
culties in her. Her jealousy and rivalry towards 
her brothers and sisters gave rise to death-wishes 
and aggressive phantasies, in which in her mind 
she injured or destroyed them. If her sense of guilt 
and the conflicts derived from these phantasies 
are not too strong, then the possibility of making 
reparation can have more scope and her maternal 
feelings can come more fully into play. 

One element in this maternal attitude seems to be 
that the mother is capable of putting herself in the 
child’s place and of looking at the situation from 
his point of view. Her being able to do so with love 
and sympathy is closely bound up, as we have seen, 
with feelings of guilt and the drive to reparation. 
If, however, the sense of guilt is over -strong, this 

Changing Relationships 79 

identification may lead to an entirely self-sacrificing 
attitude which is very much to the child’s dis- 
advantage. It is well known that a child who has 
been brought up by a mother who showers love on 
him and expects nothing in return often becomes a 
selfish person. Lack of capacity for love and con- 
sideration in a child is, to a certain extent, a cover 
for over-strong feelings of guilt. A mother’s over- 
indulgence tends to increase feelings of quiet, and 
moreover does not allow enough scope for the child’s 
own tendencies to make reparation, to make sacrifices 
sometimes, and to develop true consideration for 

If, however, the mother is not too closely wrapped 
up in the child’s feelings and is not too much 
identified with him, she is able to use her wisdom 
in guiding the child in the most helpful way. She 
will then get full satisfaction from the possibility 
of furthering the child’s development — a satisfaction 
which is again enhanced by phantasies of doing for 
her child what her own mother did for her, or 
what she wished her mother to do. In achieving 
this, she also repays her mother and makes good the 
injuries done, in phantasy, to her mother’s children, 
and this again lessens her feelings of guilt. 

A mother’s capacity to love and to understand 
her children will be especially tested when they 
come to the stage of adolescence. At this period, 

^ A similar detrimental effect (though this comes about 
in a different way) is produced by harshness or lack of 
love on the part of parents. — 1 his touches on the 
important problem of how the environment influences 
the child’s emotional development in a favourable or 
unfavourable way. This, however, is beyond the scope of 
the present paper. 


children normally tend to turn away from their 
parents and to free themselves to a certain degree 
from their old attachments to them. The children’s 
striving to find their way towards new objects of 
love creates situations which are apt to be very 
painful for parents. If the mother has strong 
maternal feelings, she can remain unshaken in her 
love, can be patient and understanding, give help 
and advice where this is necessary, and yet allow 
the children to work out their problems for them- 
selves — and she may be able to do all this without 
asking much for herself. This is only possible, 
however, if Ittr capacity for love has developed in 
such a way that she can make a strong identification 
both with her child, and with a wise mother of 
her own whom she keeps in her mind. 

The mother’s relations to her children will again 
alter in character and her love may manifest 
itself in different ways when her children are grown 
up, have made lives of their own and freed them- 
selves from old ties. The mother may now find 
that she has not a large part to play in their lives. 
But she may find some satisfaction in keeping her 
love prepared for them whenever it is needed. She 
thus feels unconsciously that she affords them 
security, and is forever the mother of the early days, 
whose breast gave them full gratification and who 
satisfied their needs and their desires. In this 
situation, the mother has identified herself fully 
with her own helpful mother, whose protective 
influence has never ceased to function in her mind. 
At the same time she is also identified with her own 
children : she is, in her phantasy, as it were, again 
a child, and shares with her children the possession 
of a good and helpful mother. The unconscious 

On Being a Father 8i 

minds of the children very often correspond to the 
mother’s unconscious mind, and whether or not 
they make much use of this store of love prepared 
for them, they often gain great inner support and 
comfort through the knowledge that this love exists. 

Parenthood : On Being a Father 

Although his children do not on the whole mean 
so much to the man as to the woman, they do 
play an important part in his life, especially if he 
and his wife are in harmony. To go back to deeper 
sources of this relationship, I have already referred 
to the gratification which a man derives from giving 
a baby to his wife, in so far as this means making 
up f9r his sadistic wishes towards his mother and 
making restoration to her. This increases the actual 
satisfaction of creating a baby and of fulfilling his 
wife’s wishes. An additional source of pleasure is 
the gratification of his feminine wishes by his sharing 
the maternal pleasure of his wife. As a small boy 
he had strong desires to bear children as his mother 
did, and these desires increased his tendencies to 
rob her of her children. As a man, he can give 
children to his wife, can see her happy with them, 
and is then able, without feeling guilty, to identify 
himself with her in her bearing and suckling of 
their children, and again in her relation to the 
older children. 

There are many satisfactions, however, which he 
derives from being able to be a good father to his 
children. All his protective feelings, which have been 
stimulated by feelings of guilt in connection with 
the early family life when he was a child, find 
full expression. Again, there is the identification 
with the good father — either with his actual father 


or with his ideal of a father. Another element in his 
relationship with his children is his strong identifi- 
cation with them, for he shares in his mind their 
enjoyments ; and, moreover, in helping them in 
their difficulties and promoting their development 
he is renewing his own childhood in a more satis- 
factory way. 

Much of what I have said about the mother’s 
relation to her children in different stages of their 
development applies also to the father’s. He plays 
a different part from that of the mother, but their 
attitudes cpruplement each other ; and if (as is 
assumed in this whole discussion) their married 
life is based upon love and understanding, the 
husband also enjoys his wife’s relation with their 
children, whilst she takes pleasure in his under- 
standing and helping them. 

Difficulties in Family Relationships 

A fully harmonious family life such as that implied 
in my description is, as we know, not an everyday 
occurrence. It depends upon a happy coincidence 
of circumstances and psychological factors, first 
of all, upon a well -developed faculty for love in 
both partners. Difficulties of all kinds may occur, 
both in the relation between husband and wife 
and in their relations to the children, and I will 
give a few examples of these. 

The individuality of the child may not corre- 
spond to what the parents wished it to be. Either 
partner may unconsciously want the child to be like 
a brother or a sister of the past ; and this wish 
obviously cannot be satisfied in both parents — and 
may not be fulfilled even in one. Again, if there 
has been strong rivalry and jealousy in relation to 


The Fear of Loving the Child 

brothers and sisters in either or both partners, this 
may be repeated in connection with the achieve- 
ments and the development of their own children. 
Another situation of difficulty arises when the 
parents are over-ambitious and wish, by means of 
the achievements of their children, to pin reassur- 
ances for themselves and to lessen their own fears. 
Then, again, some mothers are not able to love and 
to enjoy the possession of their children because they 
feel too guilty of taking, in phantasy, their own 
mother’s place. A woman of this type may not be 
able to tend her children herself, but has to leave them 
to the care of nurses or other people — who in her 
unconscious mind stand for her own mother, to 
whom she is thus returning the children whom she 
wished to take away from her. This fear of loving 
the child, which of course disturbs the relationship 
with the child, may occur in men as well as in 
women, and will probably affect the mutual relations 
of husband and wife. 

I have said that feelings of guilt and the drive to 
make reparation arc intimately bound up with the 
emotion of love. If, however, the early conflict 
between love and hate has not been satisfactorily 
dealt with, or if guilt is too strong, this may lead to a 
turning away from loved people or even to a re- 
jection of them. In the last analysis it is the fear that 
the loved person — to begin with, the mother — may 
die because of the injuries inflicted upon her in phan- 
tasy, which makes it unbearable to be dependpt 
Upon this person. We can observe the satisfaction 
small children gain from their early achievements, 
and from everything which increases their indepen- 
dence. There are many obvious reasons for this, 
but a deep and important one is, in my experience, 


that the child is driven towards weakening his 
attachment to the all-important person, his mother. 
She originally kept his life going, supplied all his 
needs, protected him and gave him security; she is 
therefore felt as the source of all goodness and of life, 
in unconscious phantasy she becomes an inseparable 
part of oneself ; her death would therefore imply one’s 
own death. Where these feeling^ and phantasies are 
very strong, the attachment to loved people may 
become an overwhelming burden. 

Many people find their way out of these difficulties 
by lessening their capacity for love, denying or 
suppressing it^ and by avoiding strong emotions 
altogether. Others have found an escape from the 
dangers of love by having displaced it predominantly 
from people to something else but people. The dis- 
placement of love to things and interests (which I 
discuss in connection with the explorer and the man 
struggling with the hardships of nature) is part of 
normal growth. But with some people this displace- 
ment to objects other than human has become their 
main mode of dealing with, or rather escaping from, 
conflicts. We all know the type of animal lover, 
passionate collector, scientist, artist, and so on, who 
is capable of a great love, and often self-sacrifice, for 
the objects of his devotion or his chosen work, but 
has little interest and love to spare for his fellow-men. 

A quite different development takes place in 
people who become entirely dependent upon those 
to whom they are strongly attached. With them, 
the unconscious fear that the loved one will die 
leads to over -dependence. Greed, which is increased 
by fears of the kind, is one element in such an 
attitude, and is expressed in making as much use as 
possible of the person on whom one is dependent. 

Fear of Dependence 85 

Another constituent in this attitude of over-depen- 
dence is the shirking of responsibility : the other 
person is made responsible for one’s actions, and 
sometimes even for one’s opinions and thoughts. 
(This is one of the reasons why people accept 
without criticism the views of a leader and act with 
blind obedience to his commands.) With people 
who are so over-dependent, love is very much 
needed as a support against the sense of guilt and 
fears of various kinds. The loved person, by signs 
of affection, must prove to them over and over 
again that they are not bad, not aggressive, and that 
their destructive impulses have not taken effect. 

These over-strong ties are especially disturbing in 
the relation of a mother to her child. As I have 
pointed out before, the attitude of a mother to her 
child has much in common with her feelings as a 
child towards her own mother. We know already 
that this early relationship is characterized by the 
conflicts between love and hate. Unconscious 
death -wishes which the child bears towards her 
mother are carried over to her own child when she 
becomes a mother. These feelings are increased 
by the conflicting emotions in childhood towards 
brothers and sisters. If as the result of unsolved 
conflict in the past the mother feels too guilty in 
relation to her own child, she may need its love 
so intensely that she uses various devices to tie 
it closely to herself and to make it dependent 
upon her ; or again, she may devote herself too 
much to the child, making him the centre of her 
whole life. 

Let us consider now, though only from one basic 
aspect, a very different mental attitude — infidelity. 
The manifold forms and manifestations of infidelity 


(being the outcome of the most varied ways of 
development and expressing in some people mainly 
lov6, in others mainly hatred, with all degrees in 
between) have one phenomenon in common: the 
repeated turning away from a (loved) person, which 
partly springs from the fear of depeiidance. I have 
found that the typical Don Juan in the depths of his 
mind is haunted by the dread of the death of loved 
people, and that this fear would break through and 
express itself in feelings of depression and in great 
mental sufferings if he had not developed this par- 
ticular defence — his infidelity — against them. By 
means of this he is proving to himself over and over 
again that his one greatly loved object (originally his 
mother, whose death he dreaded because he felt his 
love for her to be greedy and destructive), is not 
after all indispensable since he can always find 
another woman to whom he has passionate but shal- 
low feelings. In contrast to those people whom a 
great dread of the death of the loved person drives to 
rejecting her or to stifling and denying love, he is, 
for various reasons, incapable of doing so. But 
through his attitude towards women an unconscious 
compromise finds expression. By deserting and 
rejecting some women he unconsciously turns away 
from his mother, saves her from his dangerous 
desires and frees himself from his painful dependence 
on her, and by turning to other women and giving 
them pleasure and love he is in his unconscious mind 
retaining the loved mother or re-creating her. 

In reality he is driven from one person to another, 
since the other person soon comes to stand again foi 
his mother. His original love object is thus replaced 
by a succession of different ones. In unconscious 
phantasy he is re-creating or healing his mother b) 

Choice of Love Partner 87 

means of sexual gratifications (which he actually 
gives to other women), for only in one aspect is his 
sexuality felt to be dangerous; in another aspect it 
is felt to be curative and to make her happy. This 
twofold attitude is part of the unconscious com- 
promise which resulted in his infidelity and is one 
condition for his particular way of development. 

This leads me to another type of difficulty in love 
relationships. A man may restrict his affectionate, 
tender and protective feelings to one woman, who 
may be his wife, but he is unable to get sexual 
enjoyment in this relationship, and has either to 
repress his sexual desires or to turn them towards 
some other woman. Fears of the destructive nature 
of his sexuality, fears of his father as a rival and 
feelings of guilt in this connection are deep reasons 
for such a separation of feelings of a tender kind 
from specifically sexual ones. Tlie loved and highly 
valued woman, who stands for his mother, has to be 
saved from his sexuality, which in phantasy is felt 
to be dangerous. 

Choice of Love-Partner 

Psycho-analysis shows that there are deep un- 
conscious motives which contribute to the choice of 
a love -partner, and make two particular people 
sexually attractive and satisfactory to each other. 
The feelings of a man towards a woman are always 
influenced by his early attachment to his mother. 
But here again this will be more or less unconscious, 
and may be very much disguised in its manifesta- 
tions. A man may choose as a love-partner a 
woman who has some characteristics of an entirely 
opposite kind to those of his mother — perhaps the 
loved woman’s appearance is quite different, but 


her voice or some characteristics of her personality 
are in accordance with his early impressions of his 
mother and have a special attraction for him. Or 
again, just because he wanted to get away from too 
strong an attachment to his mother, he may choose 
a love-partner who is in absolute contrast to her. 

Very often, as development proceeds, a sister or a 
cousin takes the mother’s place in the boy’s sexual 
phantasies and feelings of love. It is obvious that 
an attitude based on such feelings will differ from 
that of a man who seeks mainly maternal traits in a 
woman ; although a man whose choice is influenced 
by his feelings for a sister may also seek some traits 
of a maternal kind in his love -partner. A great 
variety of possibilities is created by the early in- 
fluence of various people in the child’s environment : 
a nurse, an aunt, a grandmother, may play an impor- 
tant part in this respect. Of course, in considering 
the bearing early relationships have upon the later 
choice, we must not forget that it is the impression 
of the loved person that the child had at the time, 
and the phantasies he connected with her then, 
which he wishes to rediscover in his later love 
relationship. Furthermore, the unconscious mind 
does associate things on grounds other than those 
the conscious mind is aware of. Completely for- 
gotten — repressed — impressions of various kinds for 
this reason contribute to make one person more 
attractive, sexually and otherwise, than another to 
the individual concerned. 

Similar factors are at work in the woman’s 
choice. Her impressions of her father, her feelings 
towards him — admiration, trust, and so on — may 
play a predominant part in her choosing of a love 
companion. But her early love to her father may 

Early Influences and New Situations 89 

have been shaken. Perhaps she soon turned away 
from him because of over -strong conflicts, or because 
he disappointed her too much, and a brother, a 
cousin or a playmate, let us say, may have become 
a very important person to her; she may have had 
sexual desires and phantasies as well as maternal 
feelings towards him. She would then seek a lover 
or husband agreeing with this image of a brother 
rather than one who had qualities of a more fatherly 
kind. In a successful love relationship, the unconscious 
minds of the love-partners correspond. Taking 
the case of the woman who has mainly maternal 
feelings and is seeking a partner of a brotherly 
nature, then the man’s phantasies and desires 
would correspond if he is looking for a predominantly 
maternal woman. If the woman is strongly tied to 
her father, then she unconsciously chooses a man 
who needs a woman to whom he can play the part 
of a good father. 

Although love -relationships in adult life are 
founded upon early emotional situations in con- 
nection with parents, brothers and sisters, the new 
relationships are not necessarily mere repetitions 
of early family situations. Unconscious memories, 
feelings and phantasies enter into the new love- 
relationship or friendship in quite disguised ways. 
But besides early influences there are many other 
factors at work in the complicated processes that 
build up a love-relationship or a friendship. Normal 
adult relationships always contain fresh elements 
which are derived from the new situation — from 
circumstances and the personalities of the people 
we come in contact with, and from their response 
to our emotional needs and practical interests 
as grown-up people. 



Achieving Independence 

So far I have spoken mainly of intimate relation- 
ships between people. We now come to the more 
general manifestations of love and the ways in 
which it enters into interests and activities of all 
kinds. The child’s early attachment to his mother’s 
breast and to her milk is the foundation of all love 
relations in life. But if we ?:onsider the mother’s 
milk merely as a healthy and suitable food, we may 
conclude that it could easily be replaced by other 
equally suitable food. The mother’s milk, however, 
which first? stills the baby’s pangs of hunger and 
is given to him by the breast which he comes to 
love more and more, acquires for him an emotional 
value which cannot be overrated. The breast and 
its product, which first gratify his self-preservative 
instinct as well as his sexual desires, come to stand 
in his mind for love, pleasure and security. The 
extent to which he is psychologically able to replace 
this first food by other foods is therefore a matter 
of supreme importance. The mother may succeed 
with greater or lesser difficulty in accustoming the 
child to other foods ; but, even so, the baby may 
not have given up his intense desire for his first 
food, may not have got over the grievances and 
hatred at having been deprived of it, nor have adapted 
himself in the real sense to this frustration — and if 
this be so, he may not be able to adapt himself 
truly to any other frustrations which follow in life. 

If, by exploring the unconscious mind, we come 
to understand the strength and depth of this first 
attachment to the mother and to her food, and the 
intensity with which it persists in the unconscious 
mind of the grown-up person, we may wonder how 

'Displacement and Independence 91 

it can come about that the child detaches himself more 
and more from his mother, and gradually achieves 
independence. Already in the small baby there is, 
it is true, a keen interest in things that go on around 
him, a growing curiosity, an enjoyment in getting to 
know new people and things, and pleasure in his 
various achievements, all of which seem to enable 
the child to find new objects of love and interest. 
But these facts do not altogether explain the child’s 
ability to detach himself from his mother, since 
in his unconscious mind he is so closely tied to her. 
The very nature of this over-strong attachment, 
however, tends to drive him away from her be- 
cause (frustrated greed and hatred being inevitable) 
it give.s rise to the fear of losing this all-important 
person, and consequently to the fear of dependence 
upon her. There is thus in the unconscious mind a 
tendency to give her up, which is counteracted by the 
urgent desire to keep her for ever. These conflicting 
feelings, together with the emotional and intellectual 
growth of the child which enable him to find other 
objects of interest and pleasure, result in the capacity 
to transfer love, replacing the first loved person by 
other people and things. It is because the child 
experiences so much love in connection with his 
mother that he has so much to draw upon for his 
later attachments. This process of displacing love is 
of the greatest importance for the development of 
the personality and of human relationships; indeed, 
one may say, for the development of culture and 
civilization as a whole. 

Along with the process of displacing love (and 
hate) from one’s mother to other people and things, 
and thus distributing these emotions on to the wider 
world, goes another mode of dealing with early 


impulses. Sensual feelings which the child experi- 
ences in connection with his mother’s breast develop 
into love towards her as a whole person ; feelings of 
love are from their very beginning fused with sexual 
desires. Psycho-analysis has drawn attention to the 
fact that sexual feelings towards the parents, brothers 
and sisters not only exist but can be observed to a 
certain extent in young children; it is only by ex- 
ploring the unconscious mind, however, that the 
strength and fundamental importance of these sexual 
feelings can be understood. 

Sexual desires are, as we already know, closely 
linked up'Vith aggressive impulses and phantasies, 
with guilt and the fear of the death of the loved 
people, all of which drive the child to less.en his 
attachments to his parents. There is also a tendency 
in the child to repress these sexual feelings, i.e. 
they become unconscious, and are, so to speak, 
buried in the depths of the mind. Sexual impulses 
also get disconnected from the first loved people, 
and thus the child acquires the capacity to love some 
people in a predominantly affectionate way. 

The psychological processes just described — re- 
placing one loved person by others, dissociating 
to a certain extent sexual from tender feelings, and 
repressing sexual impulses and desires — are an 
integral part of the child’s capacity for establishing 
wider relationships. It is, however, essential for a 
successful all-round development that the repression 
of sexual feelings in connection with the first loved 
people should not be too strong,^ and that the 

* Sexual phantasies and desires remain active in the 
unconscious mind and are also expressed to a certain 
extent in the child’s behaviour and in his play and other 
activities. If repression is too strong, if the phantasies 

lessening the Strength of Cot^icts 93 

displacing of the child’s feelings from the parents 
to other people should not be too complete. If 
enpugh love remains available for those nearest to 
the child, if his sexual desires in connection with 
them are not too deeply repressed, then in later 
life love and sexual desires can be revived and 
brought together again, and they then play a vital 
part in happy love relationships. In a really suc- 
cessfully developed personality some love for the 
parents remains, but love for other people and 
things will be added. This is not, however, a mere 
extension of love but, as I have stressed, a diffusion 
of emotions, which lessens the burden of the child’s 
conflicts and guilt connected with the attachment 
to and dependence on the first people he loves. 

By ‘turning to other people his conflicts are not 
done away with, for he transfers them from the 
first and most important people in a less intense 
degree to these new objects of love (and hate) 
which partly stand for the old ones. Just because 
his feelings towards these new people are less intense, 
his drive to make reparation, which may be impeded 
if the feelings of guilt arc over-strong, can now 
come more fully into play. 

It is well known that a child’s development is 
helped by his having brothers and sisters. His 
growing up with them allows him to detach himself 
more from his parents and to build up a new type of 
relationship with brothers and sisters. We know, 
however, that he not only loves them, but has 

and desires remain too deeply buried and can find no 
expression, this may not only have the effect ofinlubiting 
strongly the working of his imagination (and with this of 
activities of all kinds), but also of seriously impeding the 
individual’s later sexual life. 


Strong feelings of rivalry, hate and jealousy towards 
them. For this reason, relationships to cousins, 
playmates and other children still further removed 
from the nearest family situation, allow divergences 
from the relationships to brothers and sisters — 
divergences which again are of great importance as 
a foundation for later social relationships. 

Relationships in School Life 

School life affords an opportunity for developing 
the ocperience already gained of relationship to 
people, and provides a field for new experiments on 
this lincu ^^mong a greater number of children the 
child may find one or two or several who respond 
better to his special make-up than his brothers and 
sisters did. TTiese new friendships, among ’other 
satisfactions, give him an opportunity for revising 
and improving, as it were, the early relationships 
with his brothers and sisters, which may have been 
unsatisfactory. He may actually have been aggres- 
fflve towards, let us say, a brother who was weaker 
or younger ; or it may have been mainly his un- 
conscious sense of guilt because of hatred and 
jealousy which disturbed the relationship — a dis- 
turbance which may persist into grown-up life. 
This unsatisfactory state of affairs may have a pro- 
found effect l&ter upon his emotional attitudes to- 
wards people in general. Some children are, as we 
know, incapable of making friends at school, and 
this is because they carry their early conflicts into a 
new environment. With others who can detach 
themselves sufficiently from their first emotional 
entanglements and can make friends with school- 
mates, it is often found that the actual relation to 

, Relationships in !ScliooL Lije 95 

brothers and sisters then improves. The new com- 
panionships prove to the child that he is able to love 
and is lovable, that love and goodness exists and this 
is unconsciously felt also as a proof that he can repair 
harm which he has done to others in his imagination 
or in actual fact. Thus new friendships help in the 
solution of earlier emotional difficulties, without the 
person being aware either of the exact nature of those 
early troubles or of the w^ay in which they are being 
solved. By all ofi these means the tendencies for 
making reparation find scope, the sense of guilt is 
lessened, and trust in oneself and in others is in- 

School life also gives opportunity for a greater 
separation of hate from love than was possible in 
the small family circle. At school, some children 
can be hated, or merely disliked, while others can 
be loved. In this way, both the repressed emotions 
of love and hate — repressed because of the conflict 
about hating a loved person — can find fuller ex- 
pression in more or less socially accepted direc- 
tions. Children ally themselves in various ways, 
and develop certain rules as to how far they can go 
in their expressions of hatred or dislike of others. 
Games and the team spirit associated with them are a 
regulating factor in these alliances and in the 
display of aggression. 

Jealousy and rivalry for the teacher’s love and 
appreciation, though they may be quite strong, are 
experienced in a setting diflTerent from that of 
home life. Teachers arc, on the wffiole, further 
removed from the child’s feelings, they bring less 
emotion into the situation than parents do, and 
they also divide their feelings among many chil- 


Relationships in Adolescence 
As the child grows to adolescence, his tendency 
to hero-worship often finds expression in his relation 
t6 some teachers, while others may be disliked, 
hated or scorned. This is another instance of the 
process of separating hatred from love, a process 
which affords relief, both because the ‘ good ’ 
person is spared and because there is satisfaction in 
hating someone who is thought to be worthy of it. 
The loved and hated father, the loved and hated 
mother, are, as I have already said, originally the 
objects of both admiration and of hatred and devalu- 
ation. But .-these mixed feelings, which are, as we 
know, too conflicting and burdensome for the young 
child’s mind and therefore likely to be impeded or 
buried, find part expression in the child’s relations 
with other people — for instance, nurses, aunts, 
uncles and various relatives. Later on, in adoles- 
cence, most children manifest a strong tendency to 
turn away from their parents ; and this is largely 
because sexual desires and conflicts connected with 
the parents are once more gaining in strength. The 
early feelings of rivalry and hatred against the father 
or the mother, as the case may be, are revived and 
experienced with full force, though their sexual 
motive remains unconscious. Young people tend 
to be very aggressive and unpleasant to their 
parents, and to other people who lend themselves 
to it, such as servants, a weak teacher, or disliked 
schoolmates. But when hatred reaches such strength, 
the necessity to preserve goodness and love within 
and without becomes all the more urgent. The 
aggressive youth is therefore driven to find people 
whom he can look up to and idealize. Admired 
teachers can serve this purpose ; and inner security 

Idealizations 97 

is derived from the feelings of love, admiration and 
trust towards them, because, among other reasons, in 
the unconscious mind these feelings seem to con- 
firm the existence of good parents and of a love 
relation to them, thus disproving the great hatred, 
anxiety and guilt which at this period of life have 
become so strong. There are, of course, children 
who can keep love and admiration for the parents 
themselves even while they are going through these 
difficulties, but they are not very common. I 
think that what I have said goes a little way to 
explain the peculiar position in the minds of people 
generally of idealized figures such as famous men 
and women, authors, athletes, adventurers, imagin- 
ary characters taken from literature — people towards 
whom is turned the love and admiration without 
which all things would take on the gloom of hate 
and lovelessness, a state that is felt to be dangerous 
to the self and to others. 

Together with the idealization of certain people 
goes the hatred against others, who are painted in 
the darkest colours. This applies especially to 
imaginary people, i.e. certain types of villains in 
films and in literature ; or to real people somewhat 
removed from oneself, such as political leaders of 
the opposite party. It is safer to hate these people, 
who are either unreal or further removed, than to 
hate those nearer to one — safer for them and for 
oneself. This applies also to a certain extent to 
the hatred against some teachers or headmasters, 
for the general school discipline and the whole 
situation tends to make a greater barrier between 
pupil and teacher than often exists between son and 

This division between love and hate towards 


people not too close to oneself also serves the purpose 
of keeping loved people more secure, both actually 
and in one’s mind. They are not only remote from 
one physically and thus inaccessible, but the division 
between the loving and hating attitude fosters the 
feeling that one can keep love unspoilt. The feeling 
of security that comes from being able to love is, in 
the unconscious mind, closely linked up with keeping 
loved people safe and undamaged. The uncor^scious 
belief seems to run : I am able to keep some loved 
people intact, then I have really not damaged any 
of my loved people and I keep them all for ever in 
my mind. ^ the last analysis the image of the 
loved parents is preserved in the unconscious mind 
as the most precious possession, for it guards its 
possessor against the pain of utter desolation. * 

The Development of Friendships 

The child’s early friendships change in character 
during adolescence. The strength of impulses and 
feelings, which is so characteristic of this stage of 
life, brings about very intense friendships between 
young people, mostly between members of the same 
sex. Unconscious homosexual tendencies and feel- 
ings underlie these relationships and very often 
lead to actual homosexual activities. Such rela- 
tionships are partly an escape from the drive 
towards the other sex, which is often too un- 
manageable at this stage, for various internal and 
external reasons. To speak of internal ones and to 
take the case of the boy : his desires and phantasies 
are still very much connected with his mother and 
sisters, and the struggle of turning away from them 
and finding new love objects is at its very height. 
The impulses towards the other sex, with both boys 

Friendships in Adult Life yy 

and girls at this stage, are often felt to be fraught 
with so many dangers that the drive towards 
people of the same sex tends to become intensified. 
The love, admiration and adulation which can be 
put into these friendships are also, as I pointed out 
before, a safeguard against hatred, and for these 
various reasons young people cling all the more 
to such relationships. At this stage of develop- 
ment,, the increased homosexual tendencies, whether 
conscious or unconscious, also play a great part in 
the adulation of teachers of the same sex. Friend- 
ships in adolescence, as we know, are very often 
unstable. A reason for this is to be found in the 
strength of the sexual feelings (unconscious or 
conscious) which enter into them and disturb 
theih. The adolescent is not yet emancipated 
from the strong emotional ties of infancy and is 
still — more than he knows — swayed by them. 

Friendships in Adult Life 

In adult life, though unconscious homosexual 
tendencies play their part in friendships between 
people of the same sex, it is characteristic of friend- 
ship — as distinct from a homosexual love relation- 
ship^ — that affectionate feelings can be partially 
dissociated from sexual ones, which recede into the 
background, and though remaining to a certain 
extent active in the unconscious mind, for practi- 
cal purposes they disappear. This separation of 
sexual from affectionate feelings can apply also to 

' The subject of homosexual love relations is a wide 
and very complicated one. To deal with it adequately 
would necessitate more space than I have at my dis- 
posal, and I restrict myself, therefore, to mentioning 
that much love can be put into these relationships. 


friendships between men and women, but since the 
vast topic of friendship is only one part of my sub- 
ject, I shall confine myself here to speaking of 
friendships between people of the same sex, and 
even then I shall make only a few general remarks. 

Let us take as an instance a friendship between 
two women who are not too dependent upon each 
other. Protectiveness and helpfulness may still 
be needed, at times by the one, at other times by 
the other, as situations arise. This capacity to give 
and take emotionally is one essential for true 
friendship. Here, elements of early situations are 
expressed iiv^du It ways. Protection, help and advice 
were first afforded to us by our mothers. If we grow 
up emotionally and become self-sufficient, we shall 
not be too dependent upon maternal support and 
comfort, but the wish to receive them when painful 
and difficult situations arise will remain until we die. 
In our relation to a friend we may at times receive 
and give some of a mother’s care and love. A 
successful blending of a mother-attitude and a 
daughter-attitude seems to be one of the conditions 
for an emotionally rich feminine personality and 
for the capacity for friendship. (A fully developed 
feminine personality implies a capacity for good 
relations with men, as far as both affectionate and 
sexual feelings are concerned ; but in speaking of 
friendship between women I am referring to the 
sublimated homosexual tendencies and feelings.) 
We may have had an opportunity in our relations 
to sisters to experience and express both the motherly 
care and the daughter’s response ; and then we can 
easily carry them further into adult friendships. 
But there may not have been a sister, or none with 
whom these feelings could be experienced, and in 


The Basis of Successful Friendship 

that case, if we come to develop a friendship with 
another woman, this will bring to realization, 
modified by adult needs, a strong and important 
wish of childhood. 

We share interests and pleasures with a friend, 
but we may also be capable of enjoying her happi- 
ness and success even when we ourselves lack 
these. Feelings of envy and jealousy may recede 
into the background if our capacity to identify 
ourselves with her, and thus to share in her happi- 
ness, is strong enough. 

The element of guilt and reparation is never 
missing in such an identification. Only if we have 
successfully dealt with our hatred and jealousy, 
dissatisfaction and grievance against our mother, 
and have succeeded in being happy in seeing her 
happy, in feeling that we have not injured her or that 
we can repair the injury done in phantasy, are we 
capable of true identification with another woman. 
Possessiveness and grievance, which lead to over- 
strong demands, are disturbing elements in friend- 
ship ; indeed, over-strong emotions altogether are 
likely to undermine it. Whenever this happens, 
one finds, on psycho -analytical investigation, that 
early situations of unsatisfied desires, of grievance, 
of greed or jealousy, have broken through, i.e. 
though current episodes may have started the 
trouble, an unresolved conflict from infancy plays 
an important part in the break-up of the friendship. 
A balanced emotional atmosphere, which does not 
at all exclude strength of feeling, is a basis for 
success in friendship. It is not so likely to succeed if 
we expect too much of it, i.e. expect the friend 
to make up for our early deprivations. Such 
undue demands arc for the most part unconscious. 


and therefore cannot be dealt with rationally. They 
expose us necessarily to disappointment, pain and 
resentment. If such excessive unconscious demands 
lead to disturbances in our friendships, exact repeti- 
tions — however different the external circumstances 
may be — of early situations have come about, when 
in the first place intense greed and hatred disturbed 
our love for our parents and left us with feelings of 
dissatisfaction and loneliness. \Vhen the past does 
not press so strongly upon the present situation, we 
are more able both to make the right choice of 
friends and to satisfy ourselves with what they have 
to give. 

Much of what I have said about friendship between 
women — though there are also important differences 
by reason of the difference between the man’s and 
the woman’s psychology — applies to the develop- 
ment of friendship between men. The separation 
of affectionate from sexual feelings, the sublimation 
of homosexual tendencies and identification, are 
also the foundation for male friendships. Although 
elements and new gratifications corresponding to 
adult personality enter — fresh — into a man’s friend- 
ship with another man, he also is seeking partly for 
a repetition of his relation to his father or brother, 
or trying to find a new affinity which fulfils past 
desires, or to improve on the unsatisfactory relations 
to those who once stood nearest to him. 

Wider Aspects of Love 

The process by which we displace love from the 
first people we cherish to other people is extended 
from earliest childhood onwards to things. In this 
way we develop interests and activities into which we 
put some of the love that originally belonged to 

Wider Aspects of Love 103 

people. In the baby’s mind, one part of the body 
can stand for another part, and an object for parts 
of the body or for people. In this symbolical way, 
any round object may, in the child’s unconscious 
mind, come to stand for his mother’s breast. By a 
gradual process, anything that is felt to give out 
goodness and beauty, and that calls forth pleasure 
and satisfaction, in the physical or in the wider sense, 
can in. the unconscious mind take the place of this 
ever-bountiful breast, and of the whole mother. Thus 
we speak of our own country as the ‘ motherland ’ 
because in the unconscious mind our country may 
come to stand for our mother, and then it can be 
loved with feelings which borrow their nature from 
the relation to her. 

To illustrate the way in which the first relation- 
ship enters into interests that seem very remote 
from it, let us take as an instance the explorers who 
set out for new discoveries, undergoing the greatest 
deprivations and encountering grave dangers and 
perhaps death in the attempt. Besides stimulating 
external circumstances, there are very many psycho- 
logical elements that underlie the interest and the 
pursuit of exploring. Here I can mention only one or 
two specific unconscious factors. In his greed, the 
little boy has desires to attack his mother’s body, 
which is felt as an extension of her good breast. He 
also has phantasies of robbing her of the contents of 
her body — among other things of babies, which are 
felt to be precious possessions — and in his jealousy 
he also attacks the babies. These aggressive phan- 
tasies of penetrating her body are soon linked up 
with his genital desires to have intercourse with 
her. In psycho-analytic work it has been found that 
phantasies of exploring the mother’s body, which 


arise out of the child’s aggressive sexual desires, 
greed, curiosity and love, contribute to the man’s 
interest in exploring new countries. 

In discussing the emotional development of the 
small child, I pointed out that his aggressive 
impulses give rise to strong feelings of guilt and to 
fear of the death of the loved person, all of which 
form part of feelings of love and reinforce and 
intensify them. In the explorer’s unconscious mind, 
a new territory stands for a new mother, one that 
will replace the loss of the real mother. He is 
seeking the ‘ promised land ’ — the ‘ land flowing 
with milk -'and honey.’ We have already seen that 
fear of the death of die most loved person leads to 
the child’s turning away from her to some extent ; 
but at the same time it also drives him to re-create 
her and to find her again in whatever he undertakes. 
Here both the escape from her and the original 
attachment to her find full expression. The child’s 
early aggression stimulated the drive to restore and 
to make good, to put back into his mother the good 
things he had robbed her of in phantasy, and these 
wishes to make good merge into the later drive to 
explore, for by finding new land the explorer 
gives something to the world at large and to a 
number of people in particular. In his pursuit the 
explorer actually gives expression to both aggression 
and the drive to reparation. We know that in 
discovering a new country aggression is made use 
of in the struggle with the elements, and in over- 
coming difficulties of all kinds. But sometimes 
aggression is shown more openly ; especially was 
this so in former times when ruthless cruelty against 
native populations was displayed by people who 
not only explored, but conquered and colonized. 

Widening Horizons 1 05 

Some of the early phantasied attacks against the 
imaginary babies in the mother’s body, and actual 
hatred against new-born brothers and sisters, were 
here expressed in reality by the attitude towards 
the natives. The wished -for restoration, however, 
found full expression in repopulating the country 
with people of their own nationality. We can see 
that through the interest in exploring (whether or 
not aggression is openly shown) various impulses 
and emotions — aggression, feelings of guilt, love 
and the drive to reparation-can be transferred to 
another sphere, far away from the original person. 

The drive to explore need not be expressed in an 
actual physical exploration of the world, but may 
extend to other fields, for instance, to any kind of 
scientific discovery. Early phantasies and desires to 
explore his mother’s body enter into the satisfaction 
which the astronomer, for example, derives from 
his work. The desire to re-discover the mother of 
the early days, whom one has lost actually or in 
one’s feelings, is also of the greatest importance in 
creative art and in the ways people enjoy and 
appreciate it. 

To illustrate some of the processes I have just 
been discussing, I will take the well-known sonnet by 
Keats, ‘ On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.’ ^ 

^ For convenience’ sake I am quoting the whole poem, 
though it is so well known. 

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold, 

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ; 

Round many western islands have I been 

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne : 

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold : 



Keats is speaking here from the point of view of 
one who enjoys a work of art. Poetry is compared 
to ‘ goodly states and kingdoms ’ and ‘ realms .of 
gold.’ He himself, on reading Chapman’s Homer, 
is first the astronomer who watches the skies when 
‘ a new planet swims into his ken.’ But then Keats 
becomes the explorer who discovers ‘ with a wild 
surmise ’ a new land and sea. In Keats’ perfect 
poem the woi Id stands for art, and it is clear 4;hat to 
him scientific and artistic enjoyment and explora- 
tion are derived from the same source — from the 
love for the beautiful lands — the ‘ realms of gold.’ 
The explofiition of the unconscious mind (by the 
way, an unknown continent discovered by Freud) 
shows that, as I have pointed out before, the 
beautiful lands stand for the loved mother, and the 
longing with which these lands are approached is 
derived from our longings for her. Going back to 
the sonnet, one may suggest — without any detailed 
analysis of it — that the ‘ deep-browed Homer ’ 
who rules over the land of poetry stands for the 
admired and powerful father, whose example the 
son (Keats) follows when he too enters the country 
of his desire (art, beauty, the world — ultimately his 
mother) . 

Similarly, the sculptor who puts life into his object 
of art, whether or not it represents a person, is 
unconsciously restoring and re-creating the early 
loved people, whom he has in phantasy destroyed. 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken ; 

Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes 
He stared at the Pacific — and all his men 

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise — 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. 


Guilty Love and Creativeness 
Sense of Guilty Love and Creativeness 

Feelings of guilt, which as I have endeavoured to 
show, are a fundamental incentive towards creative - 
ness and work in general (even of the simplest kinds) 
may however, if they are too great, have the effect of 
inhibiting productive activities and interests. These 
complex connections have first become clear through 
the psycho-analysis of small children. In children, 
creative impulses which have hitherto been dormant 
awaken and express themselves in such activities as 
drawing, modelling, building and in speech, when 
by means of psycho-analysis fears of various kinds 
become lessened. These fears had brought about an 
increase of the destructive impulses, and therefore 
when fears are diminished, destructive impulses also 
are lessened. Along with these processes, feelings of 
guilt and the anxiety about the death of the loved 
person, with which the child’s mind had been unable 
to cope because they were overwhelming, gradually 
diminish, become less intense and are then manage- 
able. This has the effect of increasing the child’s 
concern for other people, of stimulating pity and 
identification with them, and thus love altogether is 
increased. The wish to make reparation, so inti- 
mately bound up with the concern for the loved one 
and the anxiety about his death, can now be ex- 
pressed in creative and constructive ways. In the 
psycho-analysis of adults, too, these processes and 
changes can be observed. 

I have suggested that any source of joy, beauty 
and enrichment (whether inner or external) is, in 
the unconscious mind, felt to be the mother’s loving 
and giving breast and the father’s creative penis, 
which in phantasy possesses similar qualities — ulti- 
mately, the two kind and generous parents. The 


relation to nature which arouses such strong feelings 
of love, appreciation, admiration and devotion, has 
much in common with the relation to one’s mother, 
as has long been recognized by poets. The manifold 
gifts of nature are equated with whatever we have 
received in the early days from our mother. But she 
has not always been satisfactory. We often felt her 
to be ungenerous and to be frustrating us ; this 
aspect of our feelings towards her is also .revived 
in our relation to nature which often is unwilling to 

The satisfaction of our self-preservative needs and 
the gratifitotion of our desire for love are forever 
linked up with each other, because they are first 
derived from one and the same source. Security was 
first of all afforded to us by our mother, who not only 
stilled the pangs of hunger, but also satisfied our 
emotional needs and relieved anxiety. Security 
attained by satisfaction of our essential requirements 
is therefore linked up with emotional security, and 
both are all the more needed because they counter- 
act the early fears of losing the loved mother. To 
be sure of our livelihood also implies, in the un- 
conscious phantasy, not being deprived of love and 
not losing our mother altogether. The man who 
is out of work and who struggles to find some has in 
mind first of all his essential material needs. I am 
not underrating the actual sufferings and distress, 
direct and indirect, which result from poverty ; 
but the actual painful situation is made more 
poignant by the sorrow and despair springing from 
his earliest emotional situations, when he not only 
felt deprived of food because his mother did not 
satisfy his needs, but also felt he was losing both 

The Relation to Nature 109 

her and her love and protection.^ Being out of 
work deprives him also of giving expression to his 
constructive tendencies, one most important way of 
dealing with his unconscious fears and sense of guilt — 
i.e. of making reparation. Harshness of circum- 
stances (though this may be partly due to an un- 
satisfactory social system, and thus give actual 
ground for the person living in misery to blame other 
people, for it) has something in common with the 
relentlessness of dreaded parents, in which children, 
under stress of anxiety, believe. Conversely, help — 
material or mental — afforded to poor or unemployed 
people, in addition to its actual value, is uncon- 
sciously felt to prove the existence of loving parents. 

To go back to the relation to nature. In some 
parts of the world nature is cruel and destructive, 
but nevertheless the inhabitants defy the dangers of 
the elements, whether these be drought, floods, 
cold, heat, earthquakes or plagues, rather than give 
up their land. External circumstances, it is true, 
play an important part, for these tenacious people 

^ In the psycho-analysis of children I frequently 
discovered—of course in varying degrees — feat's of being 
turned out of the home as a punishment for uncon- 
scious aggression (wishing to turn others out) and for 
actual harm which had been done. This anxiety sets in 
very early and may prey very strongly on the child’s 
mind. A special case of it is the lear of being either a poor 
orphan or a beggar, and having no home and no food. 
Now these fears of being destitute, with the children 
in whom I have observed them, were quite independent 
of the parents’ financial situation. In later life, fears 
of this kind have the effect of increasing the actual 
difficulties which arise from such things as loss of mone^ 
or having to give up a house, or loss of one’s work 
they add an element of poignancy and deepen despair 


may have no facilities for moving away from the 
place where they have grown up. This, however, 
does not seem to me to explain fully the phenomenon 
that so much hardship can sometimes be borne in 
order to keep to the native land. With people who 
are living under such hard conditions of nature, the 
struggle for a livelihood serves other (unconscious) 
purposes as well. Nature represents to him a grudg- 
ing and exacting mother, wh(»e gifts must be forcibly 
extolled from her, whereby early violent phantasies 
are repeated and acted out (though in a sublimated 
and socially adapted way); feeling unconsciously 
guilty for Im aggressive impulses towards his mother, 
he expected (and still unconsciously expects now in 
his relation to nature) that she would be harsh with 
him. This feeling of guilt acts as an incentive to 
making reparation. The struggle with nature is 
therefore partly felt to be a struggle to preserve nature, 
because it expresses also the wish to make reparation 
to her (mother). People who strive with the severity 
of nature thus not only take care of themselves, but 
also serve nature herself. In not severing their con- 
nection with her they keep alive the image of the 
mother of the early days. They preserve themselves 
and her in phantasy by remaining close to her — 
actually by not leaving their country. In contrast 
with this, the explorer is seeking in phantasy a new 
mother in order to replace the real one from whom 
he feels estranged, or whom he is unconsciously 
afraid to lose. 

The Relationship to Ourselves and to Others 
I have dealt in this section with some aspects of 
the individual’s love and relations towards other 
people. I cannot conclude, however, without 

1 1 1 

Using Fast Experiences 

attempting to throw some light upon the most 
complicated relationship of all, and that is the one 
we have to ourselves. But what are our selves ? 
Everything, good or bad, that we have gone through 
from our earliest days onwards : all that we have 
received from the external world and all that we 
have felt in our inner world, happy and unhappy 
experiences, relationships to people, activities, in- 
terests and thoughts of all kinds — that is to say, 
everything we have lived through — makes part of 
our selves and goes to build up our personalities. 
If some of our past relationships, with all the 
associated memories, with the wealth of feelings they 
called forth, could be suddenly Vv^iped out of our 
lives, how impoverished and empty we should 
feel!. How much love, trust, gratification, com- 
fort and gratitude, which we experienced and 
returned, would be lost! Many of us would not 
even want to have missed some of our painful 
experiences, for they have also contributed to the 
enrichment of our personalities. I have referred 
many times in this paper to the important bearing 
our early relationships have on our later ones. 
Now I want to show that these earliest emotional 
situations fundamentally influence our relationships 
to ourselves. We keep enshrined in our minds our 
loved people ; we may feel in certain difficult 
situations that we are guided by them, and may 
find ourselves wondering how they would behave, 
and whether or not they would ajjprove of our 
actions. From what I have already said, we may 
conclude that these people to whom we look up in 
this way ultimately stand for the admired and loved 
parents. We have seen, however, that it is by no 
means easy for the child to establish harmonious 


relationships to them, and that early feelings of love 
are seriously inhibited and disturbed by impulses 
of hatred and by the unconscious sense of guilt to 
ivhich these give rise. It is true, the parents may 
have been lacking in love or understanding, and 
this would tend to increase difficulties all round. 
Destructive impulses and phantasies, fears and 
distrust, which are always to some extent active in 
the small child even in the mOst favourable circum- 
stances, are necessarily very much increased by 
unfavourable conditions and unpleasant experiences. 
Moreover — and this is also very important — if the 
child is nol^^afforded enough happiness in his early 
life, his capacity for developing a hopeful attitude 
as well as love and trust in people will be disturbed. 
It.does not follow from this, however, that the capacity 
for love and happiness which develops in the child 
is in direct proportion to the amount of love afforded 
him. Indeed there are children who develop ex- 
tremely harsh and stern parent-figures in their 
unconscious minds — which disturb the relation to 
the actual parents and to people in general — even 
though the parents have been kind and loving to 
them. On the other hand, the child’s mental 
difficulties are often not in direct proportion to the 
unfavourable treatment he receives. If, for internal 
reasons, which from the outset vary in different 
individuals, there is little capacity to tolerate frustra- 
tion, and if aggression, fears and feelings of guilt are 
very strong, then the actual shortcomings of the 
parents, and especially their motives for doing the 
wrong thing, may become grossly exaggerated and 
distorted in the child’s mind, and his parents and 
other people around him may be felt to be pre- 
dominantly harsh and stern. For our own hatred. 

Returning Love 113 

fear and distrust tend to create in our unconscious 
minds frightening and exacting parent-figures. 
Now these processes are in varying degrees active 
in all of us, since we all have to struggle — in one 
way or another and more or less — with feelings of 
hatred and fears. Thus we see that the quantities 
of aggressive impulses, fears and feelings of guilt 
(which arise partly for internal reasons) have an 
important bearing upon the predominant mental 
attitude which we develop. 

In contrast to those children who, in response to 
an unfavourable treatment, develop, in their un- 
conscious minds, such harsh and stern parent- 
figures and whose whole mental attitude is so 
disastrously affected by this, there are many children 
who* are much less adversely affected by the mis- 
takes or lack of understanding of their parents. 
Children who — for internal reasons — are from the 
beginning more capable of bearing frustrations 
(whether avoidable or unavoidable), that is to 
say, can do so without being so dominated by 
their own impulses of hatred and suspicion — such 
children will be much more tolerant to mistakes 
their parents make in dealing with them. They can 
rely more upon their own friendly feelings, and are 
therefore more secure in themselves and less easily 
shaken by what comes to them from the outer world. 
No child’s mind is free from fears and suspicions, 
but if the relation to our parents is built pre- 
dominantly upon trust and love, we can establish 
them firmly in our minds as guiding and helpful 
figures, which are a source of comfort and har- 
mony and the prototype for all friendly relationships 
in later life. 


I tried to throw light on some of our adult rela- 
tionships by saying Aat we behave towards certain 
people as our parents behaved towards us, when they 
were loving, or as we wanted them to behave, arid 
that thus we reverse early situations. Or again, with 
some people, we have the attitude of a loving child 
towards his parents. Now this interchangeable 
child-parent relation which we manifest in our 
attitude to people is also experienced within ourselves 
to these helpful, guiding figures whom we keep 'in our 
minds. We unconsciously feel these people who form 
part of our inner world to be loving and protective 
parents toyjards us, and we return this love, we 
feel like parents towards them. These phantasy- 
relationships, based on real experiences and mem- 
ories, form part of our continuous, active life of 
feeling and of imagination, and contribute to our 
happiness and mental strength. If, however, the 
parent-figures, which are maintained in our feelings 
and in our unconscious minds, are predominantly 
harsh, then we cannot be at peace with ourselves. 
It is well known that too harsh a conscience gives 
rise to worry and unhappiness. It is less well known, 
but proved by psycho-analytic findings, that the 
strain of such phantasies of internal warfare and the 
fears connected with it are at the bottom of what we 
recognize as a vindictive conscience. Incidentally 
these stresses and fears can be expressed in deep 
mental disturbances and lead to suicide. 

I have used the rather odd phrase ‘ the relation to 
ourselves.’ Now I should like to add that this is 
a relation of all that we cherish and love and 
to all that we hate in ourselves. I have tried to 
make clear that one part of ourselves that we cherish 
is the wealth we have accumulated through our 

Bitterness of Feeling 115 

relations to external people, for these relations and 
also the emotions that are bound up with them have 
become an inner possession. We hate in ourselves 
the harsh and stern figures who are also part of our 
inner world, and are to a large extent the result 
of our own aggression towards our parents. At the 
bottom our strongest hatred, however, is directed 
against the hatred within ourselves. We so much 
dread, the hatred in ourselves that we are driven to 
employ one of our strongest measures of defence by 
putting it on to other people — to project it. But we 
also displace love into the outer world ; and we 
can do so genuinely only if we have established good 
relations with the friendly figures within our minds. 
Here is a benign circle, for in the first place we gain 
trust and love in relation to our parents, next we 
take them, with all this love and trust, as it were, into 
ourselves ; and then we can give from this wealth of 
loving feelings to the outer world again. There is an 
analogous circle in regard to our hatred ; for hatred, 
as we have seen, leads to our establishing frightening 
figures in our minds, and then we are apt to en- 
dow other people with unpleasant and malevolent 
qualities. Incidentally, such an attitude of mind 
has an actual effect in making other people uri- 
pleasant and suspicious towards us, while a friendly 
and trusting attitude on our part is apt to call forth 
trust and benevolence from others. 

We know that some people, especially when 
growing old, get more and more bitter ; that 
others become milder, and more understanding and 
tolerant. It is well known also that such variations 
are due to a' difference in attitude and character, 
and do not simply correspond to the adverse or 
favourable experiences which are met with in life. 


From what I have said we may conclude that 
bitterness of feeling, be it towards people or towards 
f;^te — and this bitterness is usually felt in relation to 
both — is fundamentally established in childhood and 
may become strengthened or intensified in later life. 

If love has not been smothered under resentment, 
grievances and hatred, but has been firmly estab- 
lished in the mind, trust in otjier people and belief 
in one’s own goodness are like a rock which with- 
stands the blows of circumstance. Then when 
unhappiness arises, the person whose development 
has followed lines such as these is capable of pre- 
serving in 'himself those good parents, whose love 
is an unfailing help in his unhappiness, and can 
find once more in the outer world people who, in 
his mind, stand for them. With the capacity for 
reversing situations in phantasy, and identifying 
himself with others, a capacity which is a great 
characteristic of the human mind, a man can 
distribute to others the help and love of which he 
himself is in need, and in this way can gain comfort 
and satisfaction for himself. 

I started out by describing the emotional situation 
of the baby, in his relation to his mother, who is 
the original and paramount source of the goodness 
that he receives from the outer world. I went on 
to say that it is an extremely painful process for the 
baby to do without the supreme satisfaction of being 
fed by her. If, however, his greed and his resent- 
ment at being frustrated are not too great, he is able 
to detach himself gradually from her and at the same 
time to gain satisfaction from other sources. The 
new objects of pleasure are linked up in his uncon- 
scious mind with the first gratifications received 
from his mother, and that is why he can accept 

Balance Between ‘ Give ’ and ‘ Take ’ 1 1 7 

other enjoyments as substitutes for the original ones. 
This process could be described as retaining the 
primary goodness as well as replacing it, and the 
more successfully it is carried through, the less 
ground is left in the baby’s mind for greed and 
hatred. But, as I have frequently stressed, the 
unconscious feelings of guilt which arise in connec- 
tion with the phantasied destruction of a loved 
person play a fundamental part in these pro- 
cesses. We have seen that the baby’s feelings of 
guilt and sorrow, arising from his phantasies of 
destroying his mother in his greed and hate, set 
going the drive to heal these imaginary injuries, and 
to make reparation to her. Now these emotions 
have an important bearing upon the baby’s wish and 
cap^icity to accept substitutes for his mother. For 
feelings of guilt give rise to the fear of being depen- 
dent upon this loved person whom the child is afraid 
of losing, since as soon as aggression wells up he 
feels he is injuring her. This fear of dependence is an 
incentive to his detaching himself from her — to his 
turning to other people and things and thus enlarging 
the range of interests. Normally, the drive to make 
reparation can keep at bay the despair arising out of 
feelings of guilt, and then hope will prevail, in which 
case the baby’s love and his desire to make repara- 
tion are unconsciously carried over to the new objects 
of love and interest. These, as we already know, 
are in the baby’s unconscious mind linked up with 
the first loved person, whom he rediscovers or re- 
creates through his relation to new people and 
through constructive interests. Thus making repara- 
tion — which is such an essential part of the ability 
to love — widens in scope, and the child’s capacity 
to accept love and, by various means, to take 


into himself goodness from the outer world steadily 
increases. This satisfactory balance between ‘ give ’ 
and ‘ take ’ is the primary condition for further 

If in our earliest development we have been able 
to transfer our interest and love from our mother 
to other people and other sources of gfratification, 
then, and only then, are we able in later life to 
derive enjoyment from other” sources. This epables 
us to compensate for a failure or a disappointment 
in connection with one person by establishing a 
friendly relationship to others, and to accept sub- 
stitutes fois-»things we have been unable to obtain 
or to keep. If frustrated greed, resentment and 
hatred within us do not disturb the relation to the 
outer world, there are innumerable wa)^ of taking 
in beauty, goodness and love from without. By 
doing this we continuously add to our happy 
memories and gradually build up a store of values 
by which we gain a security that cannot e^ily be 
shaken, and contentment which prevents bitterness 
of feeling. Moreover all these satisfactions have in 
addition to the pleasure they afford, the effect of 
diminishing frustrations (or rather the feeling of 
friistradon) past and present, back to the earliest 
and fundamental ones. The more true satisfaction 
we experience, the less do we resent deprivations, 
and the less shall we be swayed by our greed and 
hatred. Then we arc actually capable of accepting 
love and goodness from others and of giving love to 
others; and again receiving more in return. In 
other words, the essential capacity for ‘ give and 
take ’ has been developed in us in a way that 
ensures our own contentment, and contributes to the 
pleasure, comfort or happiness of other people. 

Release from Grievances 1 1 9 

In conclusion, a good relation to ourselves is a 
condition for love, tolerance and wisdom towards 
others. This good relation to ourselves has, as I 
have endeavoured to show, developed in part 
from a friendly, loving and understanding attitude 
towards other people, namely, those who meant 
much to us in the past, and our relationship to whom 
has become part of our minds and personalities. If 
we have become able, deep in our unconscious minds, 
to clear our feelings to some extent towards our 
parents of grievances, and have forgiven them for 
the frustrations we had to bear, then we can be at 
peace with ourselves and are able to love others in the 
true sense of the word.